Donald Trump’s campaign produced a letter on Tuesday signed by 88 retired generals and admirals, endorsing him for president as he prepares to give a speech on veterans’ issues in Virginia Beach, Virginia. In response, Hillary Clinton has released one of her most hard-hitting campaign ads to date.
The letter, organized by retired Major Gen. Sidney Shachnow, a 40-year Army veteran, and Rear Admiral Charles Williams says that the upcoming election “affords the American people an urgently needed opportunity to make a long-overdue course correction in our national security posture and policy.” The writing is largely boilerplate, taking from the same script that has been used many times by past GOP candidates: the military has been “hollowed out.” Our enemies have been “emboldened” by our failure to show force, etc, etc. It is interesting that these retired military leaders don’t seem to take issue with Trump’s past suggestions that the American military should become something like a “gun for hire,” demanding that NATO allies, for example, pay up if they want American military protection. The letter makes it clear — they want a return to the unfettered military adventurism of the Reagan and Bush years, and they think Donald J. Trump is the man to give it to them.
The GOP candidate has had a lot to say about military affairs during his campaign, and a lot of those things have been very uncomplimentary to both the military leaders and the lower-ranked Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines. These 88 retired flag-rank officers may have forgotten some — or all — of those things. Maybe they decided to ignore the time when Trump, who never served, said former POW John McCain wasn’t a hero because he was captured. As former commanders, you might think they would bristle at Trump’s suggestion that he knows more about fighting ISIS than they do. But no, all of those remarks are apparently just fine with them.
But not all veterans have taken kindly to some of Trump’s comments, such as his statement, after attacking a Gold Star Family, that he has “made a lot of sacrifices” for the country. Some of those veterans are featured in a new Clinton ad released in advance of Trump’s visit to Virginia, and what they have to say speaks volumes, even though none of them ever says a word.
The 30-second ad features many of Trump’s infamous comments about military affairs. Those comments are played as a series of people with various injuries is shown, watching and listening to him on television. It is obvious from the type of injuries that they were sustained in combat. One of the injured who is shown is Vietnam vet, Silver/Bronze Star recipient, and former Georgia Senator Max Cleland, who was attacked unmercifully by his Republican opponent in his 2002 campaign for re-election to the Senate. Cleland certainly understands what it is like to have someone who has never served criticize your service — his opponent, Saxby Chambliss, who defeated Cleland in 2002, sat out Vietnam thanks to student deferments and an allegedly bad knee. Just like Trump.
This may be Clinton’s most powerful anti-Trump ad to date. Watch it below, via Instagram:
A video posted by Hillary Clinton (@hillaryclinton) on
Featured image via Instagram screen capture