Each day it becomes clearer that what Donald Trump DOESN’T know about our country, our government, and our Constitution far exceeds the limited amount of things he does know. Yesterday, he attacked the First Amendment rights of the press. See the article published on the Eat Pray Vote website for details on that huge mistake. Senator Ben Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska, issued the following statement regarding Trump’s attack on the First Amendment. It is devastating:
Are you recanting of the Oath you took on Jan. 20 to preserve, protect, and defend the 1st Amendment? pic.twitter.com/XLB7QXM3bQ
— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) October 12, 2017
On Monday, instead of heading to Dover Air Force Base to honor one of the soldiers killed recently in Niger, he decided to play golf with Senator Lindsey Graham.
He ended the day Wednesday with an interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News, pre-recorded at an Air National Guard Hanger in Pennsylvania. In a tradition dating back before the Revolutionary War, at 5:00 pm “Retreat” was played and the flag lowered, signaling the end of the day. Trump, upon hearing the notes playing hauntingly in the background, joked about it with Hannity.
As reported by Business Insider, the tradition requires “Uniformed service members located outside of a building are required to stop and salute the flag, while civilians are required to place their hands over their hearts. The tradition also requires service members who are driving vehicles on a military base to pull over and render a salute.” In addition, if you are sitting down you stand and turn to face the flag. As the article points out, many members of the audience did stand during Retreat.
One could be tempted to say that “Oh well, he’s still new at this.” But Donald Trump is also the Commander-in-Chief of all our armed forces. We have the right to expect him to be at least slightly familiar with military traditions that date back before the founding of our country. Remember during his visit a couple of weeks ago to Puerto Rico where he commended one of the military officers for the fine work the Coast Guard was doing. He got an embarrassed “I represent the Air Force, sir” in reply.
But more importantly, Trump is the one who decided to make a huge issue our of NFL players “disrespecting” the country by quietly taking a knee during the playing of the National Anthem. They don’t crack jokes about it, or claims its being played because of their huge ratings.
For an example of how to act respectfully, even if you’re not exactly sure what is happening, take a look at the following clip from the late, great Robin Williams when he found himself in a similar situation while performing for troops in Kuwait:
Williams stood respectfully and silently during the ceremony. He waited until afterwards to make his jokes about it, where it became obvious he had no idea what was going on, but he recognized that it was something important and he respected it. Unlike Donald Trump.
When a professional comedian can refrain from making jokes, shouldn’t the least we could expect is that the Commander-in-Chief could do likewise. Perhaps General Kelly, General Mattis, and General McMaster will educate Trump on proper military etiquette. Or maybe they have already done so, and he prefers to ignore their advice. Any way you look at it, it does not reflect well on Donald Trump or our country.
At least he no longer should be able to lecture anyone on disrespecting the flag or our country. Not that he will stop, but he can no longer claim the moral high ground. The NFL, both owners and players, should point to this interview the next time Trump dares to lecture them again on respecting our country.