by Lauren Wynn
Today, President Trump addressed the National Convention of the American Legion and used the opportunity to highlight the signing of The Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act.
The Legion, whose motto is For God and Country, was founded in 1919 and is one of the largest war veterans organizations in the U.S. In its Preamble, they lay out their mission as follows:
FOR GOD AND COUNTRY WE ASSOCIATE OURSELVES TOGETHER
FOR THE FOLLOWING PURPOSES:
To uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America;
To maintain law and order;
To foster and perpetuate a one hundred percent Americanism;
To preserve the memories and incidents of our associations in the Great Wars;
To inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community, state and nation;
To combat the autocracy of both the classes and the masses;
To make right the master of might;
To promote peace and goodwill on earth;
To safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom and democracy;
To consecrate and sanctify our comradeship by our devotion to mutual helpfulness.
Noble purposes, to be sure – and purposes to which one would hope the Commander in Chief would also aspire.
For the most part, Mr. Trump stuck to the teleprompter speech prepared for him. It was a speech filled with words like duty, honor, country and in which called on Americans to join together in shared devotion to a greater cause. However, it wouldn’t be a Trump speech if he didn’t get in some digs and today was no different. Today, during his introductory statement, he got in a dig on former Secretary of Defense, Bob Gates:
“He started out staying bad things about me, then he said great things and now I like him.”
and seemed to take some sort of derisive swipe at Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) whom he couldn’t locate in the crowd. These types of schoolyard call-outs have become commonplace in this administration, whose leader thrives on the adoration of others. So much so, that people mostly just shrug and move on. “That’s just Trump being Trump,” they say. Sad, but true.
It was by far a different tone than last night’s off-the-rails rally speech that evoked the following response from former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper:
“I really question his ability to be — his fitness to be — in this office, and I also am beginning to wonder about his motivation for it”
James Clapper, former director of national intelligence, says he questions President Trump's fitness for office https://t.co/IRRXg7paZM
— CNN (@CNN) August 23, 2017
Teleprompter Trump vs Off-The-Cuff-Trump — the difference between night and day. The question is, which one will we get in a moment of crisis? Will we get the scripted, calm, patriotic Trump or the ridiculous caricature of pettiness and division?
I pray for all our sakes that it’s the former and not the latter, but I can’t help but be reminded of Maya Angelou’s quote:
When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.
We cannot continue to hope for change, cannot continue to pray for a pivot, cannot continue to believe that his better angels will prevail for there is no evidence that such angels exist. I fear that we must-once and for all-admit that what we see is what we get and what we get is a malignant narcissist who no one can tame.