To a woman who lost her father halfway through her childhood, Trump's assertion he's sacrificed, too, is just crass.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump offered the laughable claim that he had “made a lot of sacrifices” in his privileged life.
Gold Star father Khizr Khan had called Trump out during the Democratic National Convention over his Islamophobic rhetoric, challenging him to “Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending the United States of America,” and noting that among those graves are “all faiths, genders, and ethnicities.”
“You have sacrificed nothing and no one,” Khan stated powerfully.
Trump — who received five deferments during the Vietnam War, for being enrolled in college and for having bad feet — displayed typical pettiness and a lack of understanding of what Khan meant, or even of what the word “sacrifice” literally means.
“I think I’ve made a lot of sacrifices,” Trump whined to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “I work very, very hard. I’ve created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs, built great structures. I’ve had tremendous success.”
And over recent days, as Trump and his administration have behaved just as coldly toward other Gold Star families, those past claims of great sacrifice look even more hollow than they already did.
As one young woman put it, Trump’s words were “honestly, so offensive” — especially alongside how he and his Cabinet have politicized the deaths of four U.S. troops who were slain in an ISIS ambush in Niger.
Gold Star daughter Keely Quinlan — whose Marine father, Chief Warrant Officer John A. Quinlan, died while serving in Afghanistan in 2007 — told MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts that Trump simply has no leg to stand on in this debate.
“I don’t know if Trump fully understands what it means to sacrifice the things that I have, or the other Gold Star families have, as well,” she said.
“Especially for him to say he’s also made sacrifices — I personally took a lot of offense to that,” she continued. “I wish he knew what it felt like to miss your father for half of your childhood, and now the rest of my life.”
She added, “The politicization is honestly, so offensive.”
Quinlan tied the attacks on the family of Sgt. La David Johnson, and Johnson’s friend and mentor Rep. Frederica Wilson, to Trump’s ongoing spite directed at athletes who take a knee during the national anthem to protest systemic racial injustice.
In a powerful article she wrote in September, Quinlan spoke out in solidarity with those athletes, declaring that her father’s death came in service of defending the right to freedom of expression that they are exercising.
“As the daughter of a fallen soldier, I am so proud of these players who choose to kneel … They are doing exactly what my father died for, which is about as patriotic as it gets,” Quinlan wrote.
“If anything, when I see them kneeling, I see the utmost respect for the flag.”
Trump and others who try to use veterans and soldiers killed in action as political tools in their bigoted and partisan attacks on athletes, on military families, and on members of Congress who challenge the administration, are crudely misguided.
Quinlan’s father “died for the ideals in our Constitution,” she noted. “I am tired of those ideals being abused to convey white supremacist ideas under the guise of liberty and democracy.”
Trump’s insistence that he is standing up for the military and for veterans by attacking athletes is belied by his willingness to turn around and attack those same men and women of our armed forces.
Trump would do well to stop talking about his own supposed “sacrifices,” to stop attacking people who have given so much — even their lives — in service to the country, and to listen to someone like Quinlan, who knows all too painfully well what sacrifice truly means.