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Donald Trump Displays Appalling Disrespect For A Soldier Who Died On His Watch

Trump Troops

Yesterday I noted that President Trump had responded to questions about why he hadn’t contacted the family members of four American servicemen killed during a mission in the African nation of Niger that remains clouded in no small degree of mystery by attacking his predecessors with the lie that they also failed to reach out to family members of slain soldiers. By Tuesday evening, though, he had apparently reached out to at least one of the four families, but in doing so, he found himself in the middle of yet another controversy:

When asked on Monday why he had yet to say anything about the deaths of four U.S. service members killed when they were ambushed by ISIS fighters in Niger on October 4, President Trump said he had drafted letters to their loved ones, and planned to call them too. Then he tried to deflect criticism by falsely suggesting that President Obama and his other predecessors did not regularly call the families of fallen soldiers.

Trump then doubled down on the claim, implying that Obama hadn’t called his chief of staff John Kelly after his son was killed in Afghanistan in 2010. Kelly, who has tried to keep his son’s death out of the political arena, attended at least two events the Obamas held for military families in the years after his son’s death.

Incredibly, the story took an even more appalling turn on Tuesday evening. In his call with Sergeant La David T. Johnson’s widow, Myeshia Johnson, on Tuesday, Trump said, “He knew what he signed up for … but when it happens, it hurts anyway,” according to Representative Frederica Wilson.

The congresswoman told WPLG Local 10 News in Miami that she listened to the entire call on speakerphone while she was riding in a limousine with Johnson’s family to meet his casket at the airport. Wilson told the Washington Post that Johnson broke down when Trump made the remark. “He made her cry,” Wilson said, adding that she wanted to take the phone and “curse him out,” but the Army sergeant holding the phone wouldn’t let her talk to the president.

Sergeant Johnson, 25, leaves behind two children, a 6-year-old daughter and a 2-year-old son, and Myeshia is six months pregnant with their third child. Friends praised his dedication to his family, and the determination he showed in working his way from a job at Walmart to becoming a special operations soldier, fighting alongside Green Berets. He was a member of 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project, a mentorship program founded by Wilson, which set up a scholarship fund for his children.

As The Atlantic‘s David A. Graham argued, whether intentionally or not, Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric over the past two days shifted the focus to defending previous presidents from his attack, and away from questions about what happened in Niger. The Pentagon has not offered many details about the attack, and an administration official told CNN that nearly two weeks later it’s still unclear what happened.

Twelve U.S. soldiers from the Army’s 3rd Special Forces Group were accompanying about 30 Nigerien troops on a mission near Tongo Tongo, Niger. According to CNN, following a meeting with local leaders, the troops were ambushed by roughly 50 ISIS-affiliated militants wielding small arms, machine guns, and rocket-propelled grenades.

The U.S. soldiers were armed only with rifles, and had traveled to the site in unarmored pickup trucks. The U.S. troops called in French fighter jets for air support, but they were unable to engage. Reuters said they could not help because the firefight was at close quarters, but multiple officials told CNN that Niger does not allow air strikes on its territory.

Eventually French military helicopters were able to evacuate the dead and wounded U.S. soldiers. The remains of three U.S. soldiers — Staff Sergeants Bryan Black, Jeremiah Johnson, and Dustin Wright — were retrieved, but somehow Sergeant La David Johnson was separated from the rest of the group. His body was recovered two days later.

Congresswoman Wilson recounted the conversation between the President and Johnson’s widow during an appearance on CNN last night and a subsequent appearance on the network this morning, and again this morning on The View, as well as during an appearance on Morning Joe

Trump, for his part, denied the Congresswoman’s version of events, and claimed that he had “proof” she was lying:

Sgt. Johnson’s family, however, is confirming the Congresswoman’s version of the call:

Johnson’s mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, told The Post on Wednesday that she was in the car during the call from the White House and that “President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband.”

Jones-Johnson, speaking to The Post via Facebook Messenger, declined to elaborate.

But asked whether Wilson’s account of the conversation between Trump and the family was accurate, she replied: “Yes.”

Congresswoman Wilson also stated during her interviews that the conversation, which took place via speakerphone while Sgt. Johnson’s widow and his family was on its way with her to meet her late husband’s coffin as it was brought to the airport by a military escort, ended with Johnson’s widow in tears and only able to say “He [Trump] didn’t even remember his name.”

There really isn’t much that one can say about this incident that isn’t already apparent on its face. Once again, the President appears to display a level of narcissism and detachment from empathy for his fellow human beings that we haven’t seen in a President in recent memory, and there’s nothing surprising about it. Throughout the time that he’s been a public figure Trump has acted in pretty much the same manner that is being reported by Congresswoman Wilson and Johnson’s family, and that behavior continued when he became a candidate for President and since he became President on January 20th. Nor is it surprising that he would display callousness toward the widow of a fallen soldier since it’s entirely consistent with the way he treated the mother and father of a soldier who died defending his fellow soldiers from a terrorist attack in Iraq.

With that record, there’s unfortunately nothing surprising about this latest report. Nonetheless, as I said this morning it does demonstrate something I made note of this morning:

How much lower can it go? Just stay tuned, my friends.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    If there’s one thing of which you can absolutely sure, it’s that Trump will find a way to disgrace his office even further than he already has.

    I’ve given up thinking that he can’t go any lower than he already has.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  2. Gustopher says:

    How much lower can it go?

    The moral, ethical and empathetic limbo dance of Donald J. Trump is the best, the greatest moral, ethical and empathetic limbo dance. No previous presidents could slide so gracefully under a bar of acceptable behavior.

    Barrack Hussein Obama couldn’t even be bothered to try. He was a nothing. A loser. He failed bigly. It’s like he didn’t know you’re supposed to go under the bar, not over.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  3. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    You can read my previous comments on this over on the “Lies” thread that started yesterday.
    Right now I’m just waiting for Bunge to come and defend this a-hole.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  4. SKI says:

    Once again, the President appears to display a level of narcissism and detachment from empathy for his fellow human beings that we haven’t seen in a President in recent memory, and there’s nothing surprising about it.

    I guess he just likes soldiers who don’t die…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  5. MarkedMan says:

    (Copied from a previous thread)

    This is just so… Trump. I can just see all this unfolding in that smoking junk heap of a brain. He was sulking because he got called out on not giving a sh*t about those who died for our country. Petulant and angry, he felt forced to make these calls. Incapable of perceiving anything as having meaning beyond himself, he doesn’t bother to even remember the soldiers name. When he talks to the mother, he can’t imagine what she feels at that moment because, well, he is incapable of seeing beyond his own feelings, so he just repeats something that was buzzing around in his head as self justification for not taking responsibility: “He knew what he was getting into.”

    And the fact that the person he was talking to was a young black woman? That just exacerbates all of the above. I’m sure he’s pissed that people expect President Donald J. Trump, the bestest President ever, to waste his time on these unimportant people.

    Read more: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/trumps-pathetic-lies-reach-a-new-low/#ixzz4vsfckHPv

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  6. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @SKI:
    Brilliant!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. R.Dave says:

    I have nothing but contempt for Trump, but I have to say, I’m not really on the bandwagon for this one. “He knew what he signed up for … but when it happens, it hurts anyway,” doesn’t strike me as particularly disrespectful or callous. It’s just an acknowledgement of the reality that although soldiers know the risks, it’s no less painful or shocking a loss when risk becomes reality. It’s like when an ill and/or elderly parent dies, and someone says that even though the loss isn’t a surprise, it’s still painful.

    Of course, it all depends on the delivery, and I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if Trump’s delivery was cold and callous. The words themselves, though, don’t seem problematic to me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 8

  8. al-Alameda says:

    As it was widely reported a couple of days ago, even in Pravda-NewsMax:

    President Donald Trump has “the empathy of a cockroach,” CNN counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd said Monday on CNN’s “The Situation Room” with Wolf Blitzer. Mudd was reacting to Trump’s comments about the four Green Berets who were killed in Niger during an ambush 12 days ago.

    That can hardly be improved upon.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  9. James Pearce says:

    Jeff Sessions was stonewalling Congress this morning. This story seems terribly unimportant in the big scheme of things. Trump’s an ass….shocker, I know!

    How about we lose interest in cataloging Trump’s awfulness and finally start countering it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 8

  10. Mikey says:

    @R.Dave: There are proper times and places and contexts for such words.

    Speaking to a soldier’s widow less than two weeks after his death…well, that fails all three tests.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  11. CET says:

    Given that our president is a compulsive liar, and that perjury seems to be a pretty clearly impeachable offense…who would have to implement a master plan to compel the president to give testimony under oath about, well, pretty much anything?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  12. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @R.Dave:
    You mean like you know if you get into a car you could die?
    I’ve never served, but I tend to think most soldiers sign up to defend their country…not to die.
    Given that Dumb Donnie is a draft dodger…it gets even worse;

    “he knew what he was signing up for, and that’s why my Daddy got me 5 deferments, nah nah, na, nah na.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  13. gVOR08 says:

    @SKI:

    I guess he just likes soldiers who don’t die…

    He wasn’t even asked about calling the families, he was asked why he hadn’t said anything about Niger, but he gratuitously threw out criticism of his predecessors. By doing so, he talked himself into a corner where he had to call. He made a perfunctory call after almost two weeks and managed to upset and offend the widow.

    Surely now even his supporters will see him for what he is.

    We’ve been saying that since his ‘I like people who weren’t captured’ comment.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  14. Slugger says:

    Trump is Trump. He has been the same guy for the last thirty years. We all know what he is like. Many voted for him because, not despite, of his personality which was certainly easily visible during the Republican candidates’ debates.
    Those that find his behavior distasteful need to work to capture the voters. There must be some who voted for him who find his alienation of many Republican politicians such as Corker, McCain, McConnell, etc. unacceptable and are reachable via the breaches he has made with the GOP. I don’t think that there are many left who are going to be shocked by stuff he says. He could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  15. SenyorDave says:

    I’m finance and I work with the subject matter experts in my company on cost estimates for new programs. I always like to tell them that generally the ceiling is a much greater distance from the estimate than the floor. If you are doing a completely new program and the estimate is $1 million it may come in lower at $750k, but it won’t be $250k. On the other hand if you really miss the mark it could be $3M.

    Trump is a case where the ceiling appears to be pretty much where we are at. His floor? I think its somewhere around the center of the earth. He’s angling for worst leader of any country in the world.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  16. Jen says:

    I think Jason Kander absolutely nails why Trump’s phrasing of this matters:

    http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2017/10/18/jason-kander-trump-soldier-widow-sot-ctn.cnn

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  17. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:
    Still no Bunge???

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  18. KM says:

    @R.Dave: Jesus Christ, I bet you wouldn’t be OK going up to the family of a smoker and tell them they knew getting cancer was the price of cigarettes. Or maybe telling the family of a firefighter that burning to death was something they knew was gonna happen. Hey how about telling the parents of a kid that shot himself with daddy’s gun they knew what they were signing up for when they bought it.

    It’s called tact. Doesn’t if something is factually correct, you keep your goddamn mouth shut. Remember Bambi: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all”? This applies. Ol’ Foot in Mouth just rambled it off after not bothering to read the note someone undoubtedly handed to him before the call so he didn’t know the man’s name and ad libbed himself into a hole.

    She’s a young pregnant widow that Brietbart and other deplorable are now viciously attacking for daring to be (a) liberal (b) black (c) critical of Trump or (d) all of the above. They’re calling her a liar and worse – all because of his tactless ass’ late phone call. Betcha he won’t say boo to defend her but will call her out as a “liar” as well.

    Phrasing freaking matters when you’re the President.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  19. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip died.
    Another great one gone.
    RIP sir…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  20. KM says:

    @James Pearce:
    Then go read the article about that. Some of us can focus on more then one issue at at time.

    Fun fact: there’s a lot of military families in the country. This kind of thing hits home for them in a way Sessions won’t. It could be THEM next time, you see. Having the worst call of their lives be made even more painful needlessly is something that will resonate like Trump Administration Lies to Congress & Congress Does Jack About It Part 416 never will.

    People care when it’s personal. A lot of working poor and rural Americans have military family members. They’re not happy about this at all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  21. Franklin says:

    @Jen: Considering it’s Trump, I would probably agree.

    BUT, we don’t have the full context and maybe not even the exact quote. As Jason Kander says in that clip, other people have said things like that. It does sound callous as is, but I don’t think it’s too difficult to come up with different phrasing that makes it sound more empathetic. Something like, “It’s a dangerous job defending America and making the world safer, and your brave husband knew that and did it anyway, because he thought it was very important to create a better world for your family. It may not be consolation now, but he was a hero because of it.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  22. James Pearce says:

    @KM:

    It’s called tact.

    Do you honestly expect tact from this president?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  23. KM says:

    @Franklin:

    Why is he even bringing it up? Why does he need to reference the fact that choosing to be a solider means choosing possible death? Why not just praise the dead men and console the widow? Why dance around verbiage and phrasing when there’s no need for this to come up at all?

    Again, tact. Understanding the conversation and it’s gravitas means knowing what landmines are present and avoiding them. Most people can talk to the bereaved without sounding like asshats – why is this so hard for Trump?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  24. wr says:

    @KM: “Hey how about telling the parents of a kid that shot himself with daddy’s gun they knew what they were signing up for when they bought it.”

    It’s actually much worse than that, since he died because Trump (through channels) sent him on the mission where he was killed. It’s much closer to someone giving the kid a gun, and then saying this.

    But you know, it’s even worse than that. Because it’s the military’s CiC saying “It doesn’t really matters if people under my command get killed because they signed up for it.”

    There is simply no end to how awful this is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  25. wr says:

    @James Pearce: “How about we lose interest in cataloging Trump’s awfulness and finally start countering it?”

    How about we lose interest in cataloging what other people are interested in and actual do some of the things we demand of others?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  26. Franklin says:

    @KM:

    Why is he even bringing it up?

    Have you never heard someone say something in reference to the dangers of a job when a member of the military or police has died? I certainly have. I didn’t question why they brought it up. People try to make conversation sometimes, it’s a thing. Sometimes words come out wrong.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  27. SKI says:

    @R.Dave:

    “He knew what he signed up for … but when it happens, it hurts anyway,” doesn’t strike me as particularly disrespectful or callous. It’s just an acknowledgement of the reality that although soldiers know the risks, it’s no less painful or shocking a loss when risk becomes reality. It’s like when an ill and/or elderly parent dies, and someone says that even though the loss isn’t a surprise, it’s still painful.

    Actually, it is in fact very different. Let this tweet thread explain why.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  28. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    What makes humans unique among other species is our capacity for compassion and empathy with the struggles of other people.
    Trump is clearly not human. If the hair and the skin color didn’t convince you, this should.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  29. James Pearce says:

    @wr:

    How about we lose interest in cataloging what other people are interested in and actual do some of the things we demand of others?

    Way ahead of you. There’s at least one more news cycle to kvetch about Trump’s comments before you’ll start to hear less partisan people wondering aloud what the fuss is all about.

    Did you see Roger Goodell’s press conference? Heard the latest on the Obamacare deal?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

  30. KM says:

    @Franklin:

    Sometimes words come out wrong

    They do, indeed. Which is why a diplomat (supposedly what the POTUS is) would steer away from risky subjects or turns of phrase. Look, we’ve all stuck our foot in it but as @wr pointed out, most of us aren’t a reason why the death happened. I’m sure previous Presidents have had gaffes of the same nature.

    However, one could take those gaffes at face value and move on with a wince. Trump’s problem is he’s a jerk – it’s hard to give him credit for what might be an innocent mistake because you can’t separate out the asshattery from the whoopies. If a serial thief walks out with your jacket, is it accidental or deliberate? Do you believe them? When the guy who’s known for be insensitive whenever he opens his mouth is insensitive, is it is it accidental or deliberate?

    Trump doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt because he does it all the time. Occam’s Razor is in effect here. He said it, he meant it exactly as he said it, he probably didn’t understand how it could be misconstrued or seen as offensive and doesn’t care. The bull in the china shop doesn’t get credit because he didn’t mean to kick over the stand.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  31. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:
  32. KM says:

    @James Pearce:

    before you’ll start to hear less partisan people wondering aloud what the fuss is all about

    My family is military, James. We’re proud of it that every male who possibly could and many of the females have served with honor. My great-uncle was awarded the Medal of Honor, my grandfather was the beaches at D-day. My father and uncles served in every war since. We’re in every branch, in many duty stations across the world. We’re not much but we give our all.

    If Trump had said this to any of us, I’d have requested the honor to speak with him in person…. then proudly taken the jail sentence after I punched his lights out. My grandfather would have preferred I kick him in the nuts but a broken hand would be worth it.

    What the fuss is about? Go say that to the widow’s face and see if it turns out the same for you. Then go talk to a shrink about your empathy problem.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  33. Jen says:

    I thought Kander’s point about people using phrases like that to distance themselves was a critical point. He’s right, and that is a core issue with this president–

    Nothing.
    Is.
    Ever.
    His.
    Fault.
    EVER.

    That is what is so instructive about all of this. From his “hey, not my problem” attitude when bill after bill gets squashed, to, apparently, those who are killed in action, he takes virtually no responsibility for his decisions, action, or inaction. He is a vapid, immoral grifter.

    Is this a distraction? Yes. And it’s one of his own making. After making the absurd claim that his predecessors didn’t call families–but he does, “I think all of them”–WaPo and other publications are, of course, following up on the claim. And, lo and behold, guess what? He HASN’T called “all of them.” Oh, and one of them he did call (back in June), he promised to send a check for $25K, which is just now “in the mail.”

    He’s a horrible person.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  34. Kylopod says:

    @KM:

    However, one could take those gaffes at face value and move on with a wince. Trump’s problem is he’s a jerk – it’s hard to give him credit for what might be an innocent mistake because you can’t separate out the asshattery from the whoopies.

    Also, the proper thing to do when you say something stupid is to apologize. But he won’t apologize for this; we know it for a certainty. The only time I ever heard Trump apologize for anything was in the aftermath of the Access Hollywood fiasco. It wasn’t much of an apology–it was still in “I’m sorry if anyone was offended” territory–but it is, as far as I’m aware, the only time in his entire 30-year public career that the words “I apologize” have ever escaped his lips.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  35. wr says:

    @James Pearce: “Do you honestly expect tact from this president?”

    I don’t expect it, I demand it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  36. James Pearce says:

    @KM:

    “If Trump had said this to any of us, I’d have requested the honor to speak with him in person…. then proudly taken the jail sentence after I punched his lights out.”

    For inarticulately acknowledging the dead soldier’s courage?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 10

  37. wr says:

    @James Pearce: “Did you see Roger Goodell’s press conference? Heard the latest on the Obamacare deal?”

    I’m not sure what your point is. I’m well aware on Trump’s current health care gyrations. My life is way too short to watch a Roger Goodell press conference on any subject. I also saw the Attorney General perjure himself in front of the Senate again today. All of which has what to do with what?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  38. James Pearce says:

    @wr:

    I demand it.

    You demand tact….from Donald Trump?

    Guess what you’re NOT going to get?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  39. Neil Hudelson says:

    @James Pearce:

    You demand the collective internet focuses on whatever subject interest you, updated daily.

    Guess what you’re NOT going to get?

    And yet I bet you’ll stop demanding that just as quickly as wr stops demanding tact from Trump.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  40. James Pearce says:

    @wr:

    My life is way too short to watch a Roger Goodell press conference on any subject.

    Ah, it’s too bad. He said a lot of really interesting things in regards to reducing police violence in the AA community.

    Just kidding. He said players should stand for the anthem.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  41. KM says:

    @James Pearce:

    By any chance, is Sheldon the character you most relate to on the Big Bang Theory?

    You seem to be pathologically incapable of understanding that your meaning gets lost when you bungle the message or when your messenger is suspect. Trump didn’t praise his courage, he said “He knew what he signed up for”. Now, you read that as implicitly acknowledging heroism but that’s you reading into it. Taken at face value, all Trump’s words mean is that this was not an unexpected outcome. *You* are attributing connotations of heroism to his “inarticulately acknowledging” because… well, that’s what a normal person would be doing. That’s not what he said and you cannot be sure that’s what he meant. Thus, the outrage – poor word choice and lack of apology doesn’t lead one to be generous in benefit of the doubt.

    It doesn’t matter anyway since Trump’s lying, er, denying any of this took place. Since someone was was sincere but inarticulate would try and clarify their remarks, there goes your “praise”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  42. Hal_10000 says:

    We’re seeing a pattern here:

    “Why won’t Trump talk about Puerto Rico?”
    “Good God, make it stop!”
    “Why won’t Trump call the soldiers’ families?”
    “Good God, make it stop!”

    We’re just going to have to accept that he is never going to be Presidential and never going to be a decent human being. This is who he is. We can’t change him; we can only survive him.

    Even if we take the most generous best-case scenario here — that Trump bumbled a call and Wilson is blowing it out of proportion — it’s *still* bad. Part of the job of the President is to empathize with people, to make them feel like their concerns are being listened to. Bill Clinton was probably the best I’ve ever seen at this but most Presidents have at least some ability to look people in the eye and make them feel like they care. Trump is able to speak to people’s fears and prejudices, which is probably why he won. But he can’t speak to their higher aspirations, their hopes, their dreams … or their very real sorrows.

    I’d say the lack of empathy is stunning but … it really isn’t anymore.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  43. James Pearce says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    You demand the collective internet focuses on whatever subject interest you, updated daily.

    Not true. Not only did I take a few days off of OTB, but I have not demanded anyone discuss the philosophical ramifications of Blade Runner 2049 or whether Trevor Siemian really is the future of the Broncos? How come Laura Joh Rowland’s Sano Ichiro novels aren’t more well known? Tell me, Neil. I demand discussion on these topics.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8

  44. Mikey says:

    @James Pearce:

    You demand tact….from Donald Trump?

    Not so speak for wr, but I don’t demand tact of Donald Trump, I demand it of the President of the United States.

    The unfortunate fact Donald Trump is currently occupying (and demeaning) that position makes no difference. Tact is really the minimum we should demand.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  45. wr says:

    @James Pearce: “Guess what you’re NOT going to get?”

    I know. But I’m not going to lower my standards of human behavior because he’s a pig. Why will you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  46. wr says:

    @James Pearce: “He said players should stand for the anthem.”

    And I should care because…?

    Read more: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/donald-trumps-appalling-disrespect-for-a-soldier-who-died-on-his-watch/#ixzz4vthkD5zR

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  47. wr says:

    @Mikey: “Not so speak for wr, but I don’t demand tact of Donald Trump, I demand it of the President of the United States.”

    You’re welcome to speak for me here — that’s exactly what I meant.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  48. James Pearce says:

    @KM:

    By any chance, is Sheldon the character you most relate to on the Big Bang Theory?

    No, I’m a Penny. (Kidding. Not really a fan of that show.)

    Trump didn’t praise his courage, he said “He knew what he signed up for”.

    That was Trump’s mealy mouthed way of praising his courage.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  49. pylon says:

    @James Pearce:

    “That was Trump’s mealy mouthed way of praising his courage.”

    Trump doesn’t praise anyone but Trump (or someone doing something for which he can take derivative credit).

    Trump deflects. In this case, away from the fact he sent this kid to die.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  50. CSK says:

    @gVOR08:

    I know you were being ironic/sardonic in commenting that Trump’s drooling admirers would surely see him for what he is now, but the Trumpkin defense of him in this instance (at Trump Central, Lucianne.com) is unusually sickening, even for them. Let me boil it down for you: Sgt Johnson’s widow, his mother, and Rep. Wilson are a pack of lying n*****r Democrats desperate to trash Our Wonderful President Trump any way they can.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  51. James Pearce says:

    @wr:

    And I should care because…?

    You don’t have to care, but the protest is over, and not only was nothing useful done on police violence, Donald Trump is our president now.

    I love the smell of progress in October.

    @pylon:

    Trump deflects. In this case, away from the fact he sent this kid to die.

    Yeah, we probably shouldn’t have elected him, huh?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  52. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @al-Alameda:

    President Donald Trump has “the empathy of a cockroach,”

    I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to protest that allegation. We have no idea whatsoever about how much empathy cockroaches have. They shouldn’t be demeaned peremptorily by being compared to Trump in any way.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  53. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @gVOR08: His supporters do see him for what he is. The difference is that they approve. They like what they are seeing. Bigly!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  54. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @James Pearce: Keep doubling down, dude. Your two little ducies are bound to win! The third will come in “on the river” fer shur. Go all in!!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  55. rachel says:

    “New Freedom” -Wilson
    “New Deal” -Roosevelt
    “New Frontier” -Kennedy
    “New Low” -Trump

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  56. Mikey says:

    @pylon:

    Trump deflects. In this case, away from the fact he sent this kid to die.

    Indeed. With Trump the “…so it’s not my fault he’s dead” is implicit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  57. James Pearce says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker:

    Your two little ducies are bound to win!

    Once, years ago, I got a pair of deuces in the hole and my 3rd came on the flop. I didn’t go all in, because that would be stupid, but after the showdown, I took a piece of everyone’s stake home with me.

    Not saying that’s analogous to anything going on here, but this situation actually happened to me once, and I did win.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  58. Mister Bluster says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker:..We have no idea whatsoever about how much empathy cockroaches have.

    The Internet is so Awesome! It’s got everything!


    Do Insects Have Emotions and Empathy?

    Hopefully, by mapping the neural circuitry that underlies the fear-like behavior in flies, anger-like behavior in bees or empathic-like behavior in woodlice we may be one step closer to comparing insects’ experiences of feelings with our own. With insect brains surprising even entomology experts in their extraordinary similarities with our own brains despite marked differences, the similarities may be more profound than we would like to think.

    I am going to do more investigation to see what these extraordinary similarities with our own brains might bee.

    (Might help explain this dark moment in rock and roll history.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  59. Daryl's other brother Daryll says:

    I have to go back to this….
    While we are talking about what an ass the Comb-over with bone-spurs is, we are not getting answers about Niger.
    What is the mission?
    Is it part of a real strategy?
    What were these guys doing?
    Why were they under-armored?
    Why did they not have proper support?
    Why was one of them missing for two days?
    I suspect there’s more to this than there ever was to Benghazi.
    And that’s why we’re talking about what an ass the Comb-Over with bone spurs is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  60. michilines says:

    @James Pearce:

    While we are talking about what an ass the Comb-over with bone-spurs is, we are not getting answers about Niger.
    What is the mission?

    Odd how you missed this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  61. James Pearce says:

    @michilines:

    Odd how you missed this.

    I missed it?

    The crawl on CNN right now is “New scrutiny over Trump’s calls to military families,” not “Niger: What are we doing there?”

    That being said, I welcome turning away from the superficial BS you can’t win on with Trump* and reacquainting ourselves with substance.

    * Trump will out-superficial anyone.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  62. Guarneri says:

    Yeah, she seems pretty credible. I mean, look at the hat. I’d take her over Kelly anyway……..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  63. wr says:

    @James Pearce: “The crawl on CNN right now is “New scrutiny over Trump’s calls to military families,” not “Niger: What are we doing there?”

    And today, the crawls on CNN and MSNBC are about questions regarding the Niger incident. Because, apparently, all the hoo-hah about Trump’s lack of empathy for a soldier killed there led people — including people in congress — to start asking why he was there in the first place and why he was killed.

    I realize this is hard for you to grasp, but not everything you fail to care about is unimportant. Who knows if anyone would have noticed we’d had troops in Niger if Trump hadn’t called attention to it so spectacularly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  64. Surreal American says:

    @Guarneri:

    Probably not a good idea for you to mock what an elected official has on her or his head.

    Just sayin’.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  65. george says:

    A friends of mine who served in Vietnam, and lost a brother there, made an interesting comment – he said he wouldn’t have been offended by it if Trump had himself served in some combat role; the reality of war is soldiers die. It would have been someone who’d been through it himself sharing the pain that everyone who’s been there has felt, a commiseration.

    However to have old bone spurs say it is simply insulting. He wasn’t there, he hasn’t earned the right to say it. Most importantly, there’s no shared sense of loss. Its just another empty phrase for Trump.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  66. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Guarneri:
    And yet you positively wet yourself when Bush 43 wore a cowboy hat.
    So is it that shes a woman, or that she’s black, or both?
    You fvcking bigot.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  67. James Pearce says:

    @wr:

    Who knows if anyone would have noticed we’d had troops in Niger if Trump hadn’t called attention to it so spectacularly.

    No one would have noticed, certainly no one on the left, who for the last few years have been watchdogging pop culture for the proper amount of wokeness, but is a little out of practice when it comes to watchdogging the US government.

    The US military has been in Niger since 13.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  68. James Pearce says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    So is it that shes a woman, or that she’s black, or both?

    Maybe it’s just a ridiculous hat?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  69. SKI says:

    @James Pearce:

    The US military has been in Niger since 13.

    Here is the real question: did Trump know this?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  70. SKI says:

    @george:

    A friends of mine who served in Vietnam, and lost a brother there, made an interesting comment – he said he wouldn’t have been offended by it if Trump had himself served in some combat role; the reality of war is soldiers die.

    It maybe partially generational because that actually isn’t the “typical” case today.

    Since 9/11, roughly 1 out of every 5,000 troops to serve in Iraq or Afghanistan died there. It is neither common nor expected among the soldiers themselves for them to die.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  71. wr says:

    @James Pearce: “No one would have noticed, certainly no one on the left, who for the last few years have been watchdogging pop culture for the proper amount of wokeness”

    You complain because “the left” is talking about Trump’s astonishing lack of empathy, which keeps anyone from noticing dead troops in Niger. Then that very conversation leads to focus on the question you thought the left should be talking about, and somehow it’s the left’s fault for… well, I have no idea. Basically, everyone to your left sucks no matter what they do, and the only person who knows exactly what to do is you. And the only proper way for anyone on the left to protest is to give up their homes and move to Oklahoma. Which you will not do.

    So basically, piss off, troll. You’ve got nothing to say.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  72. R.Dave says:

    I still don’t think the tumult over this is warranted. The reason soldiers, firefighters, cops, etc. are referred to as heroes is because they know and accept the risks in order to serve others, and when they get killed in the line of duty, it’s utterly common to acknowledge that willful acceptance of risk. From Lincoln’s “last full measure of devotion” line to Reagan saying “the Challenger Seven, were aware of the dangers, but overcame them and did their jobs brilliantly” to Obama praising the Atlanta cops who were murdered a few years ago saying they, like all cops, “answered a call that at any moment, even in the briefest interaction, may put your life in harm’s way.” Trump’s statement that “he knew what he signed up for” is just an inartful way of saying the same thing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  73. SKI says:

    @R.Dave:

    Trump’s statement that “he knew what he signed up for” is just an inartful way of saying the same thing

    No, it isn’t. Context matters.

    First, none of those other quotes were said directly to a grieving widow of her way to receive the remains of their lost loved one.

    Second, Trump’s comment wasn’t said in the context of actually praising the courage or bravery of the dead. It was said in the context of saying “I know you are hurting but your now dead husband chose to risk dying”.

    That that supposed “choice” stands in contrast to his own choice to get multiple deferments for “bone spurs” just adds to its inappropriateness.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  74. James Pearce says:

    @SKI:

    did Trump know this?

    I’m sure it was mentioned at some point during the last 9 months. Whether it made it through Trump’s long side-hair into his ears and then into his brain I have no way of knowing.

    But as a general rule, I resist blaming the president when soldiers die. Even if the president is Trump. Sure if the president hadn’t ordered the troops to go to the dangerous place with the dangerous people, no soldiers would die.

    @wr:

    somehow it’s the left’s fault for… well, I have no idea.

    Perhaps, if you sought first to understand, then to be understood this would not be so confusing to you.

    Or maybe spitting bile will help someday.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  75. SKI says:

    @James Pearce:

    But as a general rule, I resist blaming the president when soldiers die. Even if the president is Trump. Sure if the president hadn’t ordered the troops to go to the dangerous place with the dangerous people, no soldiers would die.

    No arguments. I don’t blame Trump for the soldier dying. I blame him for lack of empathy – a problem in performing the most basic elements of his job – and a virtually non-existent attention span to anything but himself and his own ratings/popularity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  76. Neil Hudelson says:

    @James Pearce:

    Perhaps, if you sought first to understand, then to be understood this would not be so confusing to you.

    “Hi Pot! Man, you are looking so, so black today.”
    -Kettle

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  77. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @James Pearce:

    Maybe it’s just a ridiculous hat?

    So now you are a fashion critic, too?
    Who the fvck are you to judge?
    If that avatar is a picture of you…I’d STFU.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  78. KM says:

    @R.Dave”

    may put your life in harm’s way.

    Emphasis mine. MAY. Nobody signs up expecting to die the same way nobody going into surgery expects to die on the table. Yeah, it can happen, especially if the operation goes south but it probably won’t. Nobody takes a drug expecting the side effect to happen. The VAST majority of service men and women come home alive. going into the Army is not a death sentence you are lucky to get a reprieve from, it’s a career that may happen to cost you your life. Death is a possible side effect of military service, not the ultimate point. We aren’t LT Dan, here.

    To be frank, this is the kind of rationale people make AFTER the fact to justify why the death happened and render it meaningful. No one, but no one, in the fire stations around the country tonight is thinking “It’s my last night on earth”. Does that make them less of a hero if they turn out to be wrong?

    For god’s sake, he said something stupid. Why everyone is trying to excuse it is just making it worse. The spin’s just making him (and his defenders) look heartless by refusing to admit the man’s a self-centered moron who has no idea why a grieving family took his poor-phrased words badly. It doesn’t matter what you or I think in the end. The FAMILY is what matters and the family’s offended. They are the ultimate judges of whether it’s acceptable or not and they say No. Stop trying to minimize it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  79. Franklin says:

    @SKI:

    It was said in the context …

    Again, I’m going to repeat that we actually do NOT know the full context nor if we even have a mildly accurate quote. Or have I missed something? Yes, I’ve seen the widow interviewed and she said the quote two slightly different ways, neither of which I have any way of verifying.

    BUT, there is actually a part of the context which we actually know here. That context is that the POTUS was spending time trying (and yes, failing in this case) to comfort a soldier’s family. Now whether he does this of his own accord or his handlers put him up to it, I don’t know. But I hate to make the moral outrage about a mistake made while doing something good. To me, the outrage should be about his attempted shaming of previous presidents, or what we’re doing in Niger.

    Regarding KM’s response to my earlier post, that we’re supposed to be upset about the poor phrasing because it’s Trump (and his general lack of empathy), and it’s like a serial thief walking out with my jacket: OK, that’s a reasonable argument. Not to analyze him too much, but there are some times when he is able to connect with people (we saw this briefly when he visited Harvey victims), but it’s incredibly rare. I might think he’s capable of empathy, just too lazy and self-centered to muster the effort.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  80. wr says:

    @James Pearce: “Perhaps, if you sought first to understand, then to be understood this would not be so confusing to you.”

    I’ve been reading your messages for years. Long enough that I remember when you posted things that weren’t just troll-bait. I have a basic understanding of your two messages: everyone on the left works together in a coordinated effort that is controlled by some mysterious group, and white men are the only real victims in society.

    Oh, wait. Three messages — only you know the way to fix everything in our society, and you can’t be bothered to say what it is, only to criticize anything that doesn’t match it.

    The details of any particular message of yours aren’t worth trying to parse. They all come down to the same tired drivel.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  81. george says:

    @SKI:

    That’s a good point. My friend is getting up in years (sadly so am I); I imagine the view was even more common among the previous generations, the WW1 and WW2 vets … tho I suspect they’d still only accept the statement from someone who’d been in battle. Again commiserating a horrible but shared experience is very different than making a glib comment you’ve never lived. The whole “walk the walk before you can talk the talk” thing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  82. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @R.Dave:
    @KM:

    I still don’t think the tumult over this is warranted.

    C’mon…Draft-dodging Donnie’s Daddy got him 5 deferments.
    Saying that this soldier knew what he was getting into is just beyond despicable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  83. george says:

    @Franklin:

    No one, but no one, in the fire stations around the country tonight is thinking “It’s my last night on earth”.

    That’s an interesting point, in conjunction with Ski’s point of a shift in generational norms. I don’t know about fire fighters, but in the past many WW1 and WW2 vets I talked with (I’m old enough that they were still common in my day) said they expected to die frequently. One took part in the Somme, another in the Battle of Britain, and I gather surviving wasn’t seen as a given by any means.

    Today’s situation is much better (much more sane), so joining the military doesn’t mean flying Spitfires against the Luftwaffe with a life expectancy of four weeks (seriously). And in any case, Trump simply hasn’t earned the right to make the kind of comments that someone who risked their own life might make.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  84. James Pearce says:

    @SKI:

    I blame him for lack of empathy

    Yes, but this circles us back to the point that his mealy-mouthed comment was, for him, an expression of empathy. We’re just going to have to accept that empathy will never come naturally to this sociopathic president.

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    So now you are a fashion critic, too?

    I reserve the right to crack on all sequined cowboy hats, even those worn by black women. Imagine Sarah Palin wearing it. Imagine Brett Michaels wearing it.

    @wr:

    I have a basic understanding of your two messages

    Those are not my messages.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  85. Neil Hudelson says:

    @James Pearce may be wrong on a lot of things, but he’s not wrong on the sequined hat.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  86. Guarneri says:

    Good to see Gen. Kelly has more perspective and class than almost the entire crew associated with this blog these days, not to mention the media.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  87. James Pearce says:

    @Guarneri:

    Good to see Gen. Kelly has more perspective and class

    Yes, he should be president.

    @Neil Hudelson:

    @James Pearce may be wrong on a lot of things, but he’s not wrong on the sequined hat.

    Thank you. I was going to make a joke about how racist your black kettle comment was, but I decided a) I can take my lumps and b) that thing where you pretend something non-racist is, in fact, racist is stupid.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  88. wr says:

    @James Pearce: “Those are not my messages.”

    Dude, I’m not one to tell you how to live your life, but a little self-knowledge would go a long way. Assuming you’re even attempting to be truthful, either these are your messages and you live in a complete state of denial, or your messages are always misread in exactly the same way by many people here. Either get some analysis or learn to write better.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  89. Tyrell says:

    I would have thought that someone, especially a member of Congress, listening in on a private conversation would be illegal. If not then it certainly should be. I would not want them eavesdropping on my private phone calls, even if I give them permission to.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  90. James Pearce says:

    @wr:

    Dude, I’m not one to tell you how to live your life, but a little self-knowledge would go a long way.

    Yeah, I’m done thinking I’m the crazy one. Truth is, if you read what I write in bad faith, you’ll misread my meaning. I can’t do anything about that. More and clearer words won’t help. Good faith might. I know it’s out there. I see glimpses of it from time to time. It’s reassuring.

    Which is kind of nice, because as you well know, I’m not reassured by much these days.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  91. Franklin says:

    @Tyrell: If it was on speakerphone, probably depends on the state whether it is technically legal for someone else to listen in without informing the other call participant.
    I doubt any of the state laws give a crap whether that someone else is a member of Congress.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  92. rachel says:

    @Tyrell:

    I would have thought that someone, especially a member of Congress, listening in on a private conversation would be illegal.

    Let’s say that the member of Congress:
    A: was in a car with an old friend of hers
    B: and the rest of her friend’s bereaved family–including her friend’s pregnant, widowed daughter-in-law
    C: going to her old friend’s son’s funeral
    D: — a son whom the congresswoman had also known since he was child —
    E: as the family is listening to a message from the President on speakerphone.

    What is this Congresswoman supposed to do, put her fingers in her ears and yodel “Lalalalala” until the call finishes?

    You wouldn’t have “thought” anything because you are a dope.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  93. Neil Hudelson says:

    @James Pearce:

    When I typed that comment, i actually said to myself “He’ll probably make a stupid joke about it being racist…” 😛

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  94. Just 'nutha' ign'int cracker says:

    @Tyrell: On the other hand, I would have thought that someone listening to someone else speaking on a speaker phone would realize it. I guess we were both wrong. But you do bring up an interesting point in that Bill O’Reilly was on Glen Beck this morning trying to make the case that Trump was ambushed by the Congresswoman and the grieving widow (I don’t know if he made the case, I was laughing too hard and had to turn off my car radio). Run with that one if you wish.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0