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Trump tests the right's patriotism: Republicans suddenly begin to sour on the military, police

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If there was one thing I always thought Donald Trump truly cared about, it was men in uniform. After all, one of his earliest forays into politics, if you want to call it that, was an infamous full page ad he took out about the Central Park Five jogger case entitled, "Bring Back the Death Penalty, Bring Back Our Police," in which Trump waxed nostalgic about the days when police had free rein in the city and recalled fondly the time he saw a couple of cops violently rough up some guys in a diner when he was a kid. Trump was also said to have loved dressing up in his military high school uniform and considered his four years there akin to serving in the military. He would always call the Pentagon leadership "my generals" and loved it when they looked as if they came out of central casting. His 2016 campaign was filled with lurid stories of tough officers committing war crimes, which he enthusiastically endorsed.

Trump's idealized view of the men in blue and the military brass was sorely tested as president, however.

He locked horns with his first defense secretary, retired General James Mattis, whom he had chosen on the basis of the nickname "Mad Dog" and was sorely disappointed when he turned out to actually be sane. Likewise he had nothing but disdain for those who insisted that military discipline and preparedness required that the military not allow war criminals to go unpunished, much less be lauded for their crimes.

His great respect for law enforcement had its limits as well.


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