Trump talks through solemn military ceremony: “Are they playing that for you or me?”

Salon

News / Salon 6 Views comments

Donald Trump

Donald Trump (Credit: Reuters/Rick Wilking)

President Donald Trump clearly had no clue how to properly respect a longstanding military tradition on Wednesday night during his interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity.

As the president spoke to Hannity at an Air National Guard hangar in Middletown, Pennsylvania, the tune of “Retreat” was heard over the loudspeakers. The song is “part of a firmly rooted tradition that predates the American Revolutionary War; the U.S. military tune signals the start and end of the official duty day,” Task and Purpose reported.

“When the American flag is lowered and raised on US military installations, a bugle blares on loudspeakers as service members and civilians pay their respects to the flag.”

The tune “Retreat” is played at 5 p.m. every day and “is traditionally a time to secure the flag and pay respect to what it stands for,” according to the Defense Logistics Agency.

Trump heard the song on Wednesday, and instead — like everything else — made it about himself.

“What a nice sound that is,” he said, before asking Hannity, “Are they playing that for you or for me?”

But before Hannity could answer, Trump added, “They’re playing that in honor of his ratings. He’s beating everybody.”

Trump has repeatedly bashed and openly called for the firing of professional athletes who engage in a protest of racial injustice and police brutality during the national anthem.

But where was Trump’s respect for the military when he snubbed a longstanding tradition that he evidently had no idea even existed? It’s certainly interesting coming from someone who has claimed to know more than anyone about the military.

“There’s nobody bigger or better at the military than I am,” Trump said in a Fox News interview in 2015. “I know more about ISIS [the Islamic State militant group] than the generals do. Believe me,” he bragged months later.

To be clear, the issue here is not that the public should be outraged because Trump didn’t recognize a tradition for the flag, it’s that this type of behavior is only acceptable if he is the one doing it. It is highly unlikely a single Trump supporter will view the president as less patriotic, or less of an American because of his oblivious actions.

But for black athletes who have taken a knee during the national anthem and risked their careers in order to speak out about injustice, the president shamelessly called for them to be fired, and his cultish base rejoiced that someone had finally told black athletes to keep their mouths shut because fans didn’t want to hear about issues that they have the privilege to be able to tune out of. How nice it must be.

Comments