Menendez Decries Trump’s Denigration of U.S. Military, Veterans; Demands President Apologize

Menendez Decries Trump’s Denigration of U.S. Military, Veterans; Demands President Apologize

Senator cosponsors resolution honoring the service, sacrifice of military personnel, veterans; condemns Trump calling them ‘losers,’ ‘suckers’

  

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Bob Menendez tonight delivered an impassioned speech on the Senate Floor supporting the men and women who have sacrificed in service to the nation, while condemning President Trump’s denigration of military service by calling them “losers” and “suckers.”  The Senator joined other Democrats in introducing a formal Senate resolution honoring the service and sacrifice of members of the U.S. Armed Forces, veterans and Gold Star families and denouncing the President’s comments.  

“What message does it send to the children of fallen soldiers when they read that the President called their parents ‘losers and suckers’?  What message does it send to the young people I will speak with this weekend who are considering applying to one of our nation’s prestigious military academies?  What message does it send to adversaries like Vladimir Putin to learn that the President of the United States thinks that our servicemen and women on the ground in Afghanistan are suckers for being assassinated by Taliban terrorists?,” Sen. Menendez said.  “These words are hurtful words.  Damaging words. Words that should never be spoken by a Commander in Chief.  It’s unthinkable.  It’s unforgiveable.  And it’s un-American.” 

The Senator noted that every U.S. president prior to Donald Trump has carried out his responsibilities with reverence for the men and women who serve our country and gratitude for those who give their lives in defense of our freedoms.

“So today I say to our servicemen and women, from the young recruit who just enlisted, to the soldier patrolling distant lands, to those who wore the uniform, to the loved ones of those lost at war – you deserve an apology from your Commander-in-Chief,” Sen. Menendez continued.  “And because you are not likely to get one, I think it’s important to say it here on the floor of the United States Senate, that you are not suckers.  You are not losers.  You are heroes.  Your families deserve our admiration and support for their sacrifices.  And the American people will always value you for bravely bearing our country’s cause – even when the President of the United States will not.”  

Sen. Menendez quoted a Gold Star mother from southern New Jersey, Camden County Freeholder Melinda Kane, whose son Marine Lance Cpl. Jeremy Kane died in Afghanistan more than a decade ago. 

Ms. Kane recently wrote:  “I am nauseated to think that the commander in chief of our military would even think to disparage individuals, like my son, who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to every American. For the parents raising children whose fathers and mothers have given everything to this country, how do they explain Mr. Trump’s words? These brave Americans served with honor, integrity and heroism doing the things that civilians could not and would not do. That said, here we are today, in a place we never thought we would be – ensuring the world knows that those that serve our country are heroes.”

The Senator’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

“I come to the floor today to express my support for the resolution introduced by my colleagues, Senators Duckworth and Reed. Thank you both – not only for acting swiftly to defend the honor of our servicemen and women but for your distinguished service to our country.

“M. President, by now we are used to Donald Trump saying a lot of dishonorable, distasteful and downright disgusting things.

“But there truly is no bottom when it comes to this President, as evident in the despicable comments he made about our fallen soldiers as reported last week by the Atlantic – comments that have since been confirmed by additional reporting from Fox News and the Associated Press.

“He called them suckers and losers, Mr. President.

“Suckers and losers.

“The Atlantic reports that while traveling in Europe to commemorate the end of World War I back in November 2018, President Trump canceled a scheduled visit to honor those buried at Aisne-Marne American cemetery.

“He didn’t understand why he should bother visiting such a cemetery in the first place. ‘It’s filled with losers,’ he said. Can you imagine?

“And it was on that same trip that Trump referred to our Marines who died in battle at Belleau Wood as ‘suckers’ for getting killed.

“Losers and suckers, M. President.

“These words are hurtful words. Damaging words. Words that should never be spoken by a Commander in Chief. It’s unthinkable. It’s unforgiveable. And it’s un-American.

“The same story also recounts the President’s visit to Arlington Cemetery with then-Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, himself a Gold Star father who lost his son Robert in 2010 in Afghanistan.

“There, standing over First Lieutenant Robert Kelly’s grave, the President of the United States turned to his father and said ‘I don’t get it. What was in it for them?’

“What was in it for them?

“This question captures the very essence of what is so deeply wrong with this President.
In other words, why would any American give their life in service to our country? Why would anyone do anything if not for fame or fortune?

“You see, Donald Trump cannot fathom the idea of serving a cause greater than yourself, because Donald Trump only serves himself.

“He cannot understand why anyone would choose to live a life of service—why anyone would risk it all to carry our flag on the battlefield.

“Why would anyone put their own life on the line to defend our country, our people, and all that we as Americans stand for?

“Since these despicable comments came to light, the White House has bent over backwards to deny them.

“And once again, too many of my Republican colleagues have stood silent instead of forcefully and unequivocally condemning the President’s words. They would rather cower to the cruelty of Donald Trump than stand up for those who have worn the uniform of the United States.

“The sad truth is that none of us have to stretch our imaginations to picture President Trump calling our fallen soldiers ‘suckers’ and ‘losers.’
“Because he has repeatedly denigrated our men and women in uniform and the entire concept of military service.

“This is a man who, according to a New York Times investigation, had his wealthy father pay off a doctor in order to get him out of military service in Vietnam.

“A man who spoke out against disabled veterans selling goods on ritzy Fifth Avenue in New York City.

“A man who said our late colleague, Senator John McCain, was ‘no war hero’ and resisted lowering U.S. flags in his honor.

“A man who has publicly attacked Gold Star families and failed to grasp the weight of their sacrifice.

“A man who, when asked about American soldiers injured in the Iranian missile attack last January on Al-Asad airbase in Iraq, shrugged off traumatic brain injuries as nothing more than mere headaches.

“And most recently, a man who as Commander in Chief has done nothing – absolutely nothing – in response to revelations that the Kremlin was awarding bounties to Taliban terrorists for killing U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.

“What message does it send to the children of fallen soldiers when they read that the President called their parents ‘losers and suckers’?

“What message does it send to the young people I will speak with this weekend who are considering applying to one of our nation’s prestigious military academies?

“What message does it send to adversaries like Vladimir Putin to learn that the President of the United States thinks that our servicemen and women on the ground in Afghanistan are suckers for being assassinated by Taliban terrorists?

“M. President, Article II of the Constitution does not give much instruction when it says that the President shall serve as Commander-in-Chief.

“And yet somehow every President until now has carried out their responsibilities with a reverence for the men and women who serve our country and a sense of gratitude for those who give their lives in defense of our freedoms.

“I want to close with the words of a Gold Star mother from southern New Jersey, Camden County Freeholder Melinda Kane, whose son Marine Lance Cpl. Jeremy Kane died in Afghanistan more than a decade ago:

“She wrote, ‘I am nauseated to think that the commander in chief of our military would even think to disparage individuals, like my son, who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to every American. For the parents raising children whose fathers and mothers have given everything to this country, how do they explain Mr. Trump’s words? These brave Americans served with honor, integrity and heroism doing the things that civilians could not and would not do. That said, here we are today, in a place we never thought we would be – ensuring the world knows that those that serve our country are heroes.’

“So today I say to our servicemen and women, from the young recruit who just enlisted, to the soldier patrolling distant lands, to those who wore the uniform, to the loved ones of those lost at war – you deserve an apology from your Commander-in-Chief.

“And because you are not likely to get one, I think it’s important to say it here on the floor of the United States Senate… That you are not suckers. You are not losers. You are heroes. Your families deserve our admiration and support for their sacrifices.

“And the American people will always value you for bravely bearing our country’s cause – even when the President of the United States will not.”



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