Trump’s Undemocratic Worldview Speaks Louder Than His D-Day Speech

President Trump's commemoration speech in Normandy rang hollow, as his past efforts to erode the post-WWII world order contradicted his words.
President Donald J. Trump walks off the stage after delivering remarks during a D-Day National Commemorative Event Wednesday, June 5, 2019, at the Southsea Common in Portsmouth, England. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)

President Donald J. Trump walks off the stage after delivering remarks during a D-Day National Commemorative Event Wednesday, June 5, 2019, at the Southsea Common in Portsmouth, England. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)

75 years ago today, Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy in the effort of liberating France from the Nazi occupation. A little after midnight, 24,000 paratroopers were dropped behind enemy lines and were followed by 132,000 troops who stormed the beaches. Over 9,000 were wounded or missing and 4,414 were confirmed dead in the operation. This was the beginning of the liberation of Europe from the Nazis, and we all know how that ended.

Today, in Normandy, President Trump delivered a speech commemorating the sacrifices that were made that fateful day. The remarks received rave reviews from Trump supporters and critics alike. This happens all the time. President Trump musters the self-control not to do something stupid and he is deemed presidential. But what those who are prone to praising yet another momentary display of Trump competence seem to forget is the fact his speech didn’t happen in a vacuum.

Just minutes before the speech, with the Normandy Cemetery behind him in the frame of the Fox News interview, President Trump called decorated war veteran Robert Mueller a fool and attacked Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Not even the gravity of this historic moment could thwart President Trump’s habit of insulting his fellow Americans or attacking veterans that he personally dislikes – the late Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Adm. William McRaven being recent examples. These insults are made worse when you factor Trump’s Vietnam War draft-dodging into the equation.

This speech also comes as Trump’s presidency has undermined the very same post-WWII world order that those brave men fought to create 75 years ago. President Trump’s disdain for the US-led liberal order has been never been subtle. President Trump’s anti-NATO stance can best be demonstrated in his July 2018 trip to Brussels, where he attacked the alliance with lies and baseless accusations. While attacking the NATO alliance, Trump has repeatedly sided with despots like North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin over western democracies, including the US.

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Anyone who knows their history is aware that the post-WWII order was crafted by the United States. NATO was founded 70 years ago to promote the shared values of democracy and uphold the common security of the West. America’s disproportionate investments in NATO yield dividends in American dominance, in spite of Trump’s assertions those investments are fruitless. Not to mention the fact NATO is an alliance that has come to America’s defense (see Article 5’s invocation after 9/11). The peaceful Europe of today is the result of decades of US leadership, which President Trump has been undermining since he took office.

There is also the fact that President Trump has refused to combat the rise of neo-Nazism in America and even referred to those among the 2017 neo-Nazi protestors in Charlottesville as “very fine people.” Trump has also embodied the very same authoritarian tendencies that those fighting in WWII sought to rid from the Earth. Thousands of Allied forces didn’t die on D-Day fighting fascism for the 45th President of the United States to be a wannabe fascist who erodes the post-WWII world order and calls the ideological descendants of the Nazis “very fine people.”

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Opinion // D-Day / Donald Trump / NATO / Normandy