Donald Trump showed a remarkable degree of infatuation with the military when he started his presidency. He was fulsome in his praise towards them and appointing former commanders to senior positions in his administration.
But relations soured, with these men soon despairing of Trump’s policies, behaviour and morals. There were reports by October 2017 that three of the generals – James Mattis, John Kelly and HR McMaster – had a pact not to be abroad at the same time. At least one will stay behind, they had decided, as a check against the wilder actions of the president.
But then, one by one, the commanders gave up and left. Trump, who avoided the Vietnam draft by claiming he had bone-spurs, began insulting men and women who had faced danger and served their country in wars through his tweets. His “army” increasingly seemed to be the fringe right-wing civilian militias. Armed groups who like dressing up as soldiers and some of whose members are Walter Mittys – with fanciful accounts of serving in special forces.