4 Incredibly Dumb Early Trump Military Tales
It's a massive understatement to say that Donald Trump might be in over his head as POTUS -- from race relations to the economy to feeding guests. Take his military expertise, for instance, which reads less like the profile of a capable commander-in-chief, and more like the mad ramblings of someone attempting to steal valor from Cap'n Crunch ...
That Time He Offered to Negotiate a Peace Deal With the USSR
In the run-up to the last election, Donald Trump promised that if he were elected, he'd use his impressive dealmaking skills, honed over decades in the cutthroat world of real estate (and bankruptcy court), to get our political system working again. No more obstruction, no more filibustering, no more party over country, just good-spirited negotiation, compromise, and progress.
To be fair, though, this isn't the first time that he's made himself look like a schmuck by overtalking up his dealmaking skills.
Back in the 1980s, when the world was staring down the glow-in-the-dark butthole of nuclear war, he started making the press rounds saying that he, and only he, could negotiate the U.S. out of this mess with the USSR. so much so that he described the then-current negotiation team as having "no smiles, no warmth" and no "ability to go into a room and sell a deal [...] they're not sellers in the positive sense."
Of course, though, there's a steep learning curve between negotiating real estate contracts and negotiating arms reduction deals, but let's not forget: that stuff is super-easy, bro. "It's something that somebody should do that knows how to negotiate and not the kind of representatives that I have seen in the past [...] It would take an hour-and-a-half to learn everything there is to learn about missiles [...] I think I know most of it anyway."
At face value, it's easy to write this off as nothing more than bravado; of course, he's going to talk trash about the negotiating team because there's no chance of him ever getting near the negotiating table. Well, he was still talking about the subject three years later, to the point where (according to him) "nothing matters as much" as his grand plan ... which in a third-act plot twist, he was talking about with people "at a very high level" in the government.
As for his 'plan,' it involved basically, approaching the USSR and suggesting that instead of fighting each other, the U.S. and USSR should team up against the evergrowing number of countries who were close to getting the bomb, a number which included Libya and Pakistan. "Most of those [pre-nuclear] countries are in one form or another dominated by the U.S. and the Soviet Union," Trump said in an interview. "So we should use our power of economic retaliation, and they use their powers of retaliation, and between the two of us, we will prevent the problem from happening."
So, basically, for those keeping score at home: we negotiate nothing, tag-team all the other countries who want nuclear weapons, and we'll be at peace forever. As for those countries, like France, who (in his words) is, "openly and blatantly selling nuclear technology?" Trump has a simple solution: bomb the hell out of them, which at the very least, demonstrates that he's gotten wiser with age because the last time he suggested nuking an entire country, he was only slightly bloodthirsty. That's progress, right?
That Time He Suggested Funding the CIA With a Powerball Lottery
Throughout his term, Donald Trump has had a, shall we say, contentious relationship with the intelligence community -- not just because anything containing the word "intelligence" makes him super-defensive, but because these are the folks investigating him and his friends for various alleged crimes.
Back in 2000, however, he was all for the intelligence community; so much so that while he was primarying (alongside Pat Buchanan and Jesse Ventura) for the Reform Party, he suggested, in his new book The America We Deserve, that the country's spies were woefully underfunded. Enter, the "Trump National Security Lottery" -- a lottery (duh) where a percentage of every ticket would go to "preventing terrorism [...] take in enough money to hire and train every spy on earth and still have money to spare."
Why the big panic? In much the same way that he spent the '80s pissing his pants about nuclear warfare, he spent '00 fretting about bioterrorism -- which he described in TAWD as a very real possibility that necessitated people stockpiling antibiotics and the government installing sensors in every major city to detect biological devices. "It's time to get down to the hard business of preparing for what I believe is the real possibility that somewhere, sometime, a weapon of mass destruction will be carried into a major city [...] We're in danger of the sort of terrorist attacks that will make the [first] bombing of the Trade Center look like kids playing with firecrackers."
While Trump didn't win the 2000 nomination but the next year saw the intelligence community buried in money anyway because of ... you know ...
That BS Story About Trump Helping Some Stranded Troops Get Back Home
If there's anything that Donald Trump loves more than the troops, it's ... well, there's nothing he loves more than the troops -- unless they're decorated war heroes ... or trans ... or non-citizens ... or dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder and/or traumatic brain injuries ... or don't like having money designated for on-base housing/facilities used to pay for a big, dumb racism wall. Other than all those snowflakes, he loves the troops -- and always has. Consider the story, back in 1991, of when he chartered one of his planes to help out a group of soldiers who got stranded while returning home from the Gulf War. What a guy!
Oh wait, that's total bullshit.
In '91, a group of soldiers returning home did, indeed, find themselves stranded after their logistics team made a mistake -- which pissed them off, not just because they missed their friends and families, but because they were stranded in North Carolina of all places. On hearing of their plight, so the legend says, Trump sent a plane belonging to his then-airline to pick up our brave boys and return them home.
There's one slight problem with this story, however: that by '91, he'd lost control of his airline after defaulting on the payments (which is so unlike him), meaning that he couldn't have helped out these guys whether he wanted to or not -- and we'll be honest, we're leaning towards "not."
So how did one of "his" planes end up hosting more boisterous soldiers than your mom on an average night? As it turns out, the airline's fleet was contracted to the military to help them move troops around the country, which was pretty standard practice for the time. "It worked very well, and the crews loved it," said the now-retired general who arranged this whole thing. "[They] really thought that we'd done something special for them."
It's pretty ironic, then, that of all the places these guys had been, the warzone was probably the safest.
That Time He Tried to Seize His Military Academy Records
In probably the most damning indictment of the American education system, Donald Trump received a top-notch tutelage at some of the country's finest private institutions -- including the five years he spent at New York Military Academy. Ordinarily, this is where we'd make some snarky comment, but seriously: by all accounts, he was a model student who rarely set a foot wrong, thrived under a military-style disciplinary code, excelled at baseball, and was renowned among his classmates for bringing tons of girls back on-campus.
Or, at least, he was good at his extracurriculars. When it comes to his academic performance, however, that's where things get a little murkier because the only witness to that is Trump himself -- and we don't know about you, but we're having a hard time believing that his time at NYMA provided him with, as he puts it, "more training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military."
So it's kinda weird then, that when the subject of his grades came up in the last election, his camp tried to snatch them from NYMA, lest they get leaked to the public.
Back in the trouble-free days of 2011, see, Trump was entangled in a bone spur-deep feud with then-President Barack Obama. After realizing that the whole 'birth certificate' thing wasn't working out, Trump started challenging Obama to present his transcripts and prove he hadn't been a "terrible student" -- and promised that if he did, he'd donate $5 million to charity. Unsurprisingly, Obama didn't take up the offer and ignored his ass, probably because he had more important things to do than appease the schizophrenic whims of a racist pumpkin.
You'd expect, then, that when Trump was challenged about his transcripts in the run-up to the last election, he'd hand them over willingly -- and if you expected that, let us introduce you to Donald Trump.
He refused. But Trump didn't just tell the media to go swivel; according to his lawyer, Michael Cohen, Trump instructed Cohen to send threatening letters to his old stomping grounds, warning them that if any of his transcripts or grades were made public, they would be held liable for, "damages and criminality [which] will lead to jail time."
At around the same time, however, the headmaster of NYMA received a worrying call from the superintendent requesting -- ostensibly on behalf of several "prominent, wealthy alumni of the school -- that he hand over Trump's school records (on pain of "trouble") for safekeeping. As the headmaster had a backbone, however, he refused and after digging out the troublesome file, hid it somewhere in the labyrinthine archives of the academy -- where it'll likely remain until someone accidentally stumbles across it and risking "criminality," reveals that the guy who thinks stealth fighters are invisible was kind of a dumb-dumb.
Top Image: Gage Skidmore