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Trump Politicizes Soldier Deaths. Gold Star Families Call It 'Disgusting.'

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13.09.2021

“Gross.” “Disgusting.” “Without honor.”

These are the descriptions families of fallen soldiers are employing to describe how former President Donald Trump is using the recent deaths at Kabul’s airport as a prop in his political and fundraising machine.

On two separate occasions last week, Trump and his office blasted out written statements highlighting the anger and grief of two mothers who lost their sons in the Aug. 26 suicide bombing at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan, promoting their deaths as an opportunity to take a swing at President Joe Biden.

In the first statement, he issued a curt message thanking Shana Chappell—who lost her 20-year-old son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui—and included her Facebook post in which she refers to Trump as “my president… the real president of the United States of America.”

In the second statement, Trump thanked Kathy McCollum—whose 20-year-old son, Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, left behind a pregnant wife. Below that, he included a statement from her in which she called Biden a “corrupt pseudo president” and promised to “always fight for the Trump administration just as my son did.” In several recent media interviews, some family of the fallen have heaped praise on Trump for his outreach, or have bashed Biden as incompetent—if not worse.

Both statements came from his “Save America” political action committee, which continues to function as his fundraising juggernaut during Trump’s post-presidency. The statements also heavily focus on how allegedly competent Trump was as president and why he should be back in the White House. In recent weeks, Trump and Republicans have aggressively fundraised off the Afghanistan withdrawal, and Trump has raised money from supporters by tying his anti-democratic lies about the 2020 election to his calls for Biden to “RESIGN” over the pullout.

The Daily Beast spoke to nine people who have lost loved ones during the Global War on Terror over the last two decades. Nearly all expressed extreme distaste for what they considered Trump’s opportunism—and shared concern about the vulnerability of these newly grieving parents and siblings who have just joined the tight-knit community of “Gold Star families” who have lost an immediate family member in military service.

“It’s reprehensible. It follows along with what he did as president, his pattern of using anything, anybody, to his own personal benefit,” said Derek Davey, whose son Seamus joined the U.S. Marine Corps and died in Iraq in 2005.

“He was always the flag-waver, but the things he said, he did… he’s had very little regard for Gold Star families and those who’ve lost their lives in the line of duty. I........

© The Daily Beast


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