Donald Trump does not support our military.
It has become clear in recent days that Trump's signature political gimmick — a wall on the nation's border with Mexico — is more important to him than the security of the nation and the welfare of the people upon whom we rely for that security.
Pentagon officials notified Congressional leaders last week that $3.6 billion worth of military construction contracts would be canceled and the funds diverted to Trump's monument to his own ego.
That money — approved by Congress and funded by our taxes — would have funded such things as a Cyber Ops facility at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia. Improvements slated for an existing cyber ops facility in Maryland were cut, too. Our nation is more endangered by cyber attacks than by poor people seeking entry to the U.S., but Trump does not care.
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a Democratic presidential candidate and, unlike Trump, a military veteran, underscored the importance of cybersecurity. "The biggest threats to this country aren't things that are stopped by walls," he said.
Service members who entrust their children to the care of schools on military bases will take a hit, too. Schools and child development centers at bases in Kentucky, Maryland, Germany and Japan are on Trump's chopping block.
Trump has long made his disdain for the citizens of Puerto Rico known, but it seems his disregard extends to military members stationed there, too. No fewer than nine planned projects, some intended to repair damage from Hurricane Maria two years ago, won't happen because Trump wants a wall.
Is missile defense important? Apparently not. Money has been diverted from a planned missile field expansion in Fort Greeley, Alaska. Speaking of Alaska, those assigned to Eilson Air Force Base should pack extra sweaters. Funds to repair central heat and power plant boilers there are going to the southern border, instead.
We think it's important for our military to have weapons in good working order and to know how to use them. It seems Trump disagrees.
A weapon maintenance shop in Alabama and small arms ranges in Indiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Oregon, Wisconson and Guam have been deemed less worthy than Trump's wall, too.
The list goes on. Roads and drinking water facilities on military bases will not be improved. Base fire stations will be cut. The infrastructure surrounding our troops around the world will not get needed upgrades or replacement.
Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, a Maryland Democrat, summed it up well in a media release.
“This is blatantly stealing billions from crucial projects that directly benefit our military families, their quality of life and troop readiness. The President couldn’t get Mexico to pay for his wall and he couldn’t convince Congress to pay for it either,” Ruppersberger wrote. “These projects were duly-appropriated by both Democrats and Republicans and have a far bigger impact on the security of our nation than a wasteful wall. On the contrary, the wall was explicitly rejected by Congress, which alone has the power of the purse.”
Trump's plunder of the Pentagon to fund his vanity project should be rejected by everyone. The crowds who cheered when Trump proclaimed he would build a wall and make Mexico pay for it should just as loudly exclaim, "Wait a minute! This is not what we signed up for!"
We can't only "talk the talk" when proclaiming support of the military. We have to "walk the walk" as well.
Trump is not doing that.