To Donald Trump, My Grandfathers Narrowly Avoided Being ‘Suckers’

Francis “Frank” Rafter was blown off an ammunition ship – probably hit by a German torpedo and then covered up by the U.S. government – off the coast of New Jersey, in January 1944. He suffered burns to most of his body that left him with lifelong emotional and physical scars that contributed to his early death. Later that same year, while driving PT boats between England and France to help ferry supplies after D-Day, Domenick Del Prete narrowly escaped a Luftwaffe attack off the coast of Calais, France. Both saw fellow American soldiers die right next to them, and both very nearly joined the ranks of the 400,000+ Americans who lost their lives in that war, and the more than 1.3 million who died in military service to this country since 1776.

By the grace of God, they survived. Thirty-nine years after their respective ordeals, in a world seemingly free of the Nazis they fought, their grandson and namesake, Domenick Francis Rafter – you might know him as Nick Rafter – was born in New York, United States. Neither lived long enough to get to know their grandson. Now, nearly four decades later, the American presidency is held by a man who multiple people confirm said this of soldiers who died in battle:

When President Donald Trump canceled a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018, he blamed rain for the last-minute decision, saying that “the helicopter couldn’t fly” and that the Secret Service wouldn’t drive him there. Neither claim was true.

Trump rejected the idea of the visit because he feared his hair would become disheveled in the rain, and because he did not believe it important to honor American war dead, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion that day. In a conversation with senior staff members on the morning of the scheduled visit, Trump said, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” In a separate conversation on the same trip, Trump referred to the more than 1,800 marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as “suckers” for getting killed.

I almost refuse to believe its real. I know its been confirmed by several sources, although all unnamed, and I know John Kelly chose not to comment, which from my journalism experience tells me he’s one of the sources, but if true, this by far one of the most shockingly offensive, disgusting and unforgivable things Donald Trump has ever said. The only reason I’m skeptical of this story is I cannot believe no one within earshot punched him in the face when he made these comments. Imagine hearing the President of the United States calling dead American soldiers “losers” and “suckers” and not thinking it was your patriotic duty to knock his fucking lights out.

Of course Trump denies it, and his merry band of bootlickers like Sarah “I want to be Governor of Arkansas and I need stupid people to vote for me” Huckabee Sanders is out defending him, but the Atlantic story has been confirmed by The Washington Post, the Associated Press and other media outlets.

There is part of me that feels like this is a Trojan Horse – a story planted by Trump’s campaign to make him look bad to “trigger” Trump opponents, which only serves to satisfy Trump supporters and get them excited to vote. They love to watch people get all outraged at stuff Trump says and does. It emboldens them. They seem to enjoy it, and they don’t care whom he’s hurting or what rules he’s breaking or what norms he’s destroying. Trump’s only path to victory is to turn out his own supporters in big numbers while trying to divide his opponents’ coalition, or at least keep them from voting (by, for example, fucking with the mail).

But the stories also confirm comments he made about the late U.S. Sen. John McCain, whom he called a “loser” for being captured during the Vietnam War, where he spent years in a Prisoner of War camp, was tortured and suffered permanent injuries. We know he said this, we heard it right from his mouth several years ago, and we knew he had disdain for the 2008 Republican Presidential Nominee that only grew after McCain cast the deciding vote to kill a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act in 2017.

I can’t for the life of me why or how anyone still thinks we can find something in common with Trump supporters, or that placating them isn’t going to make this get worse. Too may lines have been crossed, the last straw is way behind us.

Francis Rafter survived the destruction of his ammunition ship, but 138 men did not, and it is not only unacceptable to have a president who thinks they were “suckers,” and it is even more unacceptable to have Americans who are not bothered by him saying that, simply because it “triggers the libs”

When are we going to put our collective foot down on the derangement of our fellow Americans? How much lower do they need to go?


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