Former Marine Walks Out of Trump's State of the
Union Address, Calls President a 'Draft Dodger'By David Brennan
On 2/5/20 at 4:17 AM EST
The original Newsweek article
can be found here:
former Marine and current Democratic congressman was among those who
walked out of President Donald Trump's tense State of the Union address
on Tuesday, afterwards accusing the commander-in-chief of neglecting
America's military and maligning its service members.
Moulton, a representative from Massachusetts, explained on Twitter that
he walked out of the president's annual speech to Congress when Trump
began talking about his "record-breaking" investments and support of
the U.S. military.
Moulton, who led one of the first infantry
platoons into Baghdad during the 2003 Iraq War, posted on Twitter
listing multiple grievances with Trump's conduct towards the military.
left the #SOTU after Trump—a draft dodger who has mocked Sen. John
McCain, Gold Star families, and soldiers with traumatic brain
injury—started talking about the good he has done for our military,"
The president has cast himself as a staunch ally
of the U.S. military, and regularly lauds the rise in military spending
that has occurred under his stewardship.
address, Trump said his administration had "invested a record-breaking
$2.2 trillion in the United States military," which earned him a
standing ovation from the Republican side of the hall, plus some
members on the Democratic side.
But Trump—who avoided the
military draft five times during the Vietnam War, four because he was
still in education and one for purported bone spurs in his feet—has
attacked veterans and military families when they stand against him.
His treatment of late Sen. John McCain is perhaps the most well-known
While serving as a Navy pilot in the Vietnam War,
McCain's plane was shot down and he was captured. He was imprisoned for
five and a half years, refusing early release—despite torture—as he did
not want to leave without his fellow captives.
While on the
campaign trail in 2015, Trump said McCain was "not a war hero," adding,
"He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't
The president consistently attacked McCain throughout
his campaign and into his presidency, even continuing his criticism of
the Arizona senator after his death.
Trump also attacked a Gold
Star family while on the campaign trail—Khizr and Ghazala Khan, whose
son Captain Humayun Khan was killed in 2004 in Iraq after stepping
forward to engage a suicide car bomber.
The president attacked
the bereaved parents after they spoke at the 2016 Democratic National
Convention, criticizing Trump's divisive rhetoric.
said she stood silent while Khizr Khan gave the address because she was
unsure she could keep her composure when talking about her son.
Trump later suggested she did not speak because of traditional gender
roles in Islamic families. "If you look at his wife, she was standing
there. She had nothing to say," he said. "She probably—maybe she wasn't
allowed to have anything to say. You tell me."
also came under fire for insensitivity towards the widow of Sergeant La
David Johnson, who was killed in Niger in 2017. After his death, Trump
spoke with Myeshia Johnson by phone, telling her that her husband "knew
what he signed up for, but it hurts anyways."
More recently, the
president was dismissive of the injuries sustained by American troops
in an Iranian ballistic missile attack on Iraqi military bases,
launched in retaliation for the assassination of Iranian Major General
Qassem Soleimani in early January.
At least 64 troops are now
being treated for traumatic brain injury, caused by the concussive
shock waves of the exploding missiles. But the president downplayed the
severity of the incident, describing the injuries as "headaches" and
adding, "I don't consider them very serious injuries, relative to other
injuries that I've seen."