During his campaign, President Trump once said that he “loves war” and how he’s “really good at it.” This was always a problematic statement besides that fact that someone running for president should never say something like that, Trump had never been to war. He dodged the Vietnam draft five times claiming he had sore feet.
In his presidency, he continued his love for war motif, adding billions to bolster the military, which is already the world’s biggest and most sophisticated. But for someone who claims to love the military so much, he has yet to visit a combat zone, breaking another presidential tradition.
A visit from the president isn’t just a sign of respect, though. It can significantly bolster the troops’ morale. As Gregg Zoroya writes in USA Today:
Troops serving in combat speak of a shared, nagging sense that, apart from family and friends, most Americans back home seem oblivious or have forgotten that U.S. military members are still risking their lives overseas. But this sentiment melts away for the moment when the commander in chief comes calling.
Groups like VoteVets are also not happy about his refusal to visit troops:
"First off, Donald Trump's been avoiding combat zones since 1964 when he got his first draft deferment." – @will_c_fischer , VoteVets Director of Government Relations and an Iraq War veteran, on @potus not visiting troops stationed overseas. https://t.co/Iofe1rVXY5
— VoteVets (@votevets) January 10, 2018
Just three months into Barack Obama’s presidency, he visited Afghanistan, and would three more times throughout his presidency. He, like many presidents before him, showed the utmost respect for the people protecting our country. In contrast, President Trump talked and joke while the “Retreat” bugle call played in a hangar in an Air National Guard base in Pennsylvania—while he was being interviewed by Fox News’ Sean Hannity for a puff piece.
Maybe instead of taking one of his hundreds of golf trips, Trump could do his job and visit the very people he is putting in harm’s way. Knowing Trump, he’d probably just find the closest luxury golf course to a combat zone in Afghanistan and then claim he took a “working vacation” to the Middle East.