Donald Trump just gave a class in “how to disrespect your country, flag, and military,” 101. Sitting on the Air National Guard base in Pennsylvania, being interviewed by none other than Sean Hannity, Trump was on base when the bugle sounded “Retreat,” (you may know it as “Taps,” the evening bugle call).
Military and civilian leaders are supposed to stop what they are doing, park vehicles they are driving in, and show respect to the flag. When they play “Retreat,” it is not about the music. It is a moment set aside for our military and leaders to show respect to our fallen soldiers and the flag. The evening refrain of “Retreat” one of the oldest, and most universal traditions. You stop what you are doing, and face the flag: this time is for reflection and reverence.
Trump, on the other hand, joked that the bugle call, which raises goosebumps for many of us, was a “nice sound.” Trump then quipped, “are they playing that for you, or are they playing that for me?” He continued, joking that this tradition, which dates back to the Revolutionary War, was probably being played, “in honor of [Hannity’s] ratings.”
The level of irreverence to our flag, our military, and our country here is masterful if the goal was indeed disrespect.
Let us make this crystal clear, in this interview Trump disrespected our military. On our base, he flippantly took their moment of respect and threw it on the dung-heap that is Hannity’s sycophantic Trump-fluffing schtick. He did this while laughing, during an interview in which he attacked NFL players for taking a knee during the National Anthem in respect for the fallen in this country.
Judge for yourself, is there any respect in this?:
TRUMP: What a nice sound that is. Are they playing that for you or for me? They’re playing that in honor of his ratings. Did you see how good his ratings are? He’s beating everybody.
HANNITY: I think they’ll be higher tonight. I’m just guessing.
Taking a knee during the anthem is not the same as impudently attributing the oldest honor we show our flag to Hannity’s ratings. It is not the same as laughing through the ceremony, ignoring the gravity of the moment. Taking a knee shows no disrespect, it is what our military men and women do to honor the fallen. Trump either flamboyantly spit on military tradition, on purpose, or that “military prep school” that he claimed was like serving in the military must not have taught him much about what “respecting our flag” actually means. Maybe he just wasn’t paying attention then, either.
Even if this was done in ignorance, that is no excuse for the Commander-in-Chief of this nation. He was on a base at the time of “Retreat,” a ceremony that has gone on since basically the inception of the American Military – one of his advisers should have said, “hey, if the song comes on, show some respect or you will look like a complete idiot attacking NFL players for not doing what you actually are doing…”
In fact, why would they even have to tell him? Robin Williams, may he rest in the peace, once showed us “how to respond to ‘Retreat’ with respect,” in a way that helped earn him the undying respect this nation still shows him. He wasn’t the president, he was an actor, without “military experience.” And, when the song began, he evidently wasn’t sure what to do – then, he does it perfectly. He stands silent, respectful, and then rolls it into his routine with grace and humor.
Watch Robin Williams shame Trump for his absolute callous disregard of the military:
What Trump did is even more shameful after watching that. How can Sean Hannity call himself a patriot and not call Trump out on this? Donald Trump owes this nation an apology, so does Hannity. We won’t hold our breath.