Thursday, September 09, 2021


So it's now unremarkable that an ex-president is trawling for invitations to military funerals from deceased servicemembers' relatives who don't like the current president.
When Darin Hoover traveled to Dover Air Force Base to receive the casket of his 31-year-old Marine son, who was killed in Afghanistan, he, like several other families, declined an offer to meet with President Biden.

But out of the blue last week his cellphone rang, and he instantly recognized the voice on the other line: Donald Trump.

“It was just very cordial, very understanding. He was awesome,” Hoover said, recalling the conversation. “He was just talking about the finest of the finest. He said he heard and saw everything that we had said, and he offered his condolences several times, and how sorry he was.”

... Trump has placed several calls over the past week to some family members of the 13 service members killed in an Islamic State-Khorasan terrorist attack during the withdrawal. Several have invited him to attend the funerals, and he has suggested he may try to do so.
And it's also unremarkable that he's using their deaths to raise money for his 2024 race.
The former president and his team have issued more than 50 statements about Afghanistan, and his PAC has raised millions with repeated fundraising pitches on the topic. In one pitch, titled “Let’s Raise Another $1,500,000,” he says, “Just look at what’s happening in Afghanistan.”
At the height of the Iraq War, there were critics of the Bush administration among families of deceased servicemembers. But can you imagine the outrage if, at the time, Howard Dean or Wesley Clark -- or the rising star, Barack Obama -- sought invitations to military funerals from members of these families? Or send out fundraising pitches tied to key moments when troops lost their lives?

But this is the new normal. We don't just have harsh critics of the sitting president. We have a sitting president and an anti-president.
Kathy McCollum, whose son, Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, 20, died in the attack, called into a radio show and said of Biden, “That feckless, dementia-ridden piece of crap just sent my son to die.” Rylee McCollum’s sister Roice, who declined to meet with Biden, said that she was at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, the date of the insurrection by Trump supporters, but declined to elaborate.

Trump has issued several statements thanking Shana Chappell, the mother of Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, 20, who was killed in the attack.

“If I were President, your wonderful and beautiful son Kareem would be with you now, and so would the sons and daughters of others,” he said last week.

Chappell recounted meeting with Biden at Dover, with him attempting to console her and her telling him he had no idea how she felt. At one point, by her account, Biden grew visibly annoyed and began walking away.

“You are not the president of the United States of America Biden!!!! Cheating isn’t winning!!!” she wrote on Facebook. “You are no leader of any kind! You are a weak human being and a traitor!!!!”

She later wrote that the day after burying her son, she plans to drive her blue Toyota Tundra from Norco, Calif., to the White House to demand Biden’s resignation. She encouraged others to join.

“It’s a long drive but worth it!” she wrote. “It’s time the Lions awaken and show their numbers, it’s time we take back our country! If we don’t fight to save our country then nobody will and she will fall!”

She also said that she hopes Trump will come to her son’s funeral later this month.
And in the Washington Post story I'm quoting, there's no acknowledgment of the disappearance of norms. All this is just evidence that Trump is ready to rumble and will be a strong contender in 2024.
Trump has been briefed recently by former officials, including former CIA director and secretary of state Mike Pompeo, about what he did in Afghanistan as president and what they viewed as missteps by the Biden administration, advisers said.... three advisers described him as more interested in granular details of the withdrawal than he usually is....

“It is really the only topic I’ve seen him animated about other than the election,” said one adviser, describing Trump’s nonstop commentary in private about the pullout.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), an ally of Trump’s who disagreed with his decision to withdraw from Afghanistan, said: “I told him, I think this and the border are going to be one-two punches for Biden. He agreed and is just surprised that Biden let it get this much out of hand.”

Trump is also showing signs of recalibrating his decisions after the withdrawal, some allies said.

“It’s almost certain he runs. I’d be shocked if he doesn’t,” Graham said. “I thought he would wait until after the midterms, but now I’m not so sure. I think Afghanistan has a lot to do with it. Before Afghanistan, I would have said the chance of him announcing before the midterm was almost zero. Now I’m not so sure.”

“He wants to get back into the game now quicker,” he added. “He sees things deteriorating and it is changing his thinking.”
Trump can destroy any norm he pleases because all the other gatekeepers let him.

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