The Sept. 3 story in The Atlantic that said President Donald Trump had called those who died in war "losers" has generated a storm of controversy, Trump meanwhile saying that the story is a "hoax."
The story, written by Jeffrey Goldberg, cites anonymous sources and through the years I have sometimes been suspicious about "anonymous sources." But it's not like Trump doesn't have a history of making disparaging remarks those in the military.
Many of us remember Trump's diatribe against Sen. John McCain in 2015 when Trump was seeking the Republican nomination for president. "He's not a war hero," Trump said about McCain who spent more than five years as a POW after being shot down in the Vietnam War. "I like people who weren't captured."
He refused to apologize for that remark and a number of high-profile members of his own Republican Party criticized him for that. Rick Perry, former governor of Texas, said Trump's "comments reached a new low." Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana, said this: "After Donald Trump spends six year in a POW camp, he can weigh in on John McCain's service."
A story in the Washington Post last week noted that Trump made an attack on McCain as far back as 1999 when Trump talked about running for president as a Reform Party candidate. In response to a CBS television interviewer asking about what qualified him to be commander in chief, Trump was reported to have said about McCain, a possible rival, "Does being captured make you a hero? I'm not sure."
And two years ago when McCain died while in office, Trump is reported to have said "We're not going to support that loser's funeral," and didn't like it when he saw flags lowered to half-staff.
We remember that in 2018 there was a bit of a flap when he canceled a visit to a cemetery in Paris where World War II veterans were buried, the Atlantic story saying he blamed rain for his last-minute decision, that "the helicopter couldn't fly" and that the Secret Service wouldn't drive him. The Atlantic story said neither claim was true and that Trump was worried about his hair becoming disheveled, nor did he believe it was important to honor American war dead.
"Why should I go to that cemetery?" he's reported to have said to senior staff members. "It's filled with losers." On that same trip Trump is said to have referred to the more than 1,800 marines who died in 1918 at Belleau Wood as "suckers" for getting killed.
Trump, who received a medical deferment from the draft during the Vietnam War because of bone spurs, had another bit of a boo-boo in 2017 when he visited Arlington National Cemetery with former four-star general John Kelley, then secretary of homeland security. Kelly's son Robert, a Marine Corps officer, was killed in 2010 in Afghanistan. Trump while standing near Kelly's grave and in the presence of Kelly's father, is reported to have said, "I don't get it. What was in it for them?"
Some of the military veterans I talked to the last few days, including at an American Legion meeting in Princeton last night, are up in arms about what Trump is accused of saying. One, who served in the Marines as did his father and two brothers, called what Trump is reported to have said. "totally disgusting."
"It's someone who didn't serve trying to bring the service of others into the political arena," he said, "saying it wasn't faithful, honorable service."
He said that if you go to the Vietnam Wall or World II Memorial, you'd possibly better understand that people don't serve to be glorified or honored. And he doesn't like it when a politician uses places like that for interviews while seeking political gain. My source might have been referring to another incident in which Trump said he had called "virtually all" of the families of service members who had died during his term, but then quickly began sending condolence letters to families when those families said he wasn't telling the truth.
In a meeting at the Pentagon in 2017, the Post story said this week, he called his top generals "losers" and "a bunch of dopes and babies," according to "A Very Stable Genuis" written by two Post reporters.
You may or may not like or appreciate the military as much as some do. But there is a certainly a history of the president making crude remarks about those who do serve. That makes it pretty hard to believe the story in the Atlantic to be invented for political gain. If it is, shame on them. At the same time, shame on Donald Trump for what he has said and done in the past concerning the military.
Daily diary for the 2020 Minnesota Twins
Saturday, Sept. 5 — The Twins swept a doubleheader with Detroit at Target Field, Randy Dobnak (6-2) going five shutout innings in a 2-0 win and the Twins winning the second game 3-2 with runs in the sixth and seventh innings that wiped out a 2-1 Tiger lead. Jorge Polanco and Josh Donaldson homered in the first inning of the first game and Jake Cave drove in the tying run in the second game and Marwin Gonzalez the winning run. Polanco had five hits for the day. The wins pushed Minnesota to only a half game behind first-place Chicago. Donaldson, after two good games upon returning from the IL, was held out of the second game by manager Rocco Baldelli.
Sunday, Sept. 6 —Walkoff home runs are fairly commonplace, as are other walkoff hits. But it's rare to win a game when a batter hits a ball to the shortstop and then beats the throw to drive in the winning run. That's what Byron Buxton did in the ninth inning of a 4-3 win over the Tigers, putting on a show of sped rarely seen. Miguel Sano drove in a run earlier in the inning as the Twins scored twice to erase a 3-2 Detroit lead. Sano also homered off the second deck in left and had three hits among the team's seven. Kenta Maeda retired 18 batters in a row after giving up a homer to the first batter of the game but didn't get the win. He's 4-1 with a 2.72 ERA but could easily have two more wins. The Twins are 18-4 when scoring 4 runs or more.
Monday, Sept. 7 —The headline in the Monday Star Tribune about a 10-8 loss to Detroit on Sunday read "Bullpen blunders sink Twins." It was true that the bullpen gave up a 6-2 lead in the loss but there were plenty of other things to point to in a game that ended a five-game winning streak. The Twins scored four runs in the fifth inning to take a 6-2 lead but it should have at least been 7-2, Eddie Rosario running through a stop sign by third base coach Tony Diaz with NO outs and being tagged out at the plate. The Twins would have had at least one more run and still been batting. Then, after the inning was over, manager Rocco Baldelli pulled starter Rich Hill after only 77 pitches. Because the Twins faced three games in the next two days, I'd have left Hill in for another inning - the pitching staff is going to be stressed enough the way it is in the three games in two days. Baldelli, with starters Mitch Garver and Max Kepler on the injured list, held Nelson Cruz, Byron Buxton, Josh Donaldson and Marwin Gonzalez out of the lineup as he continues to, I think, rest players too much. Catcher Willians Astudillo also had a shaky day behind the plate. All in all, it was a bad loss and the Twins fell 1 1/2 games behind division-leading Cleveland.
Tuesday, Sept. 8 — Michael Pineda gave the pitching staff a boost with seven good innings yesterday in a 6-2 win over Detroit and a 4-1 series win. If he pitches the way he has in his first two starts, he might be the bellwether of the staff these last three weeks. He gave up only three hits and became the second starter to go at least seven innings this season. Eddie Rosario had another base-running blunder but also had a three-run double that put the Twins ahead 4-0 in the third inning. Rookie catcher Ryan Jeffers, who has looked solid defensively, hit his first major league home run. The team is without No. 1 catcher Mitch Garver and No. 2 catcher Alex Avila, both injured..
Wednesday, Sept. 9 — The Twins have off days today and tomorrow as the Cleveland series looms on Friday. The Twins are a half game behind Chicago and Cleveland who are tied for first place in the Central Division, each of those teams posting a 6-4 record in the last 10 games while the Twins were 7-3. Minnesota split a doubleheader with St. Louis yesterday, winning 7-3 and then losing 6-4 as Randy Dobnak had a bad outing, walking two batters and hitting two batters in the third inning after pitching two scoreless innings as the Twins led 2-0 on a two-run homer by rookie Brent Rooker. Manager Baldelli kept starters Jorge Polanco, Byron Buxton and Luis Arraez out of the lineup in the second game, leaving me to wonder who they couldn't play when they had 72 hours to rest up before the next game. Jose Berrios got the win in the first game as Josh Donaldson, Nelson Cruz and Miguel Sano homered, although Berrios, after five shutout innings, gave up three runs without getting an out in the sixth inning.
Thursday, Sept. 10— The Twins and Cleveland are a game behind Chicago which won yesterday while Cleveland lost and the Twins were off again.
Friday, Sept. 11— The Twins (27-18) are a half game behind Chicago and a half game ahead of Cleveland as play begins today, although Chicago is two ahead in the important loss column, having played two fewer games than Minnesota. The Twins' next seven games are against those two teams and the team is 4-3 against Cleveland this season and 4-2 against Chicago. Tonight the Twins will send Kenta Maeda (4-1, 2.77 ERA) to the mound at Target Field against the guy with all-worldly numbers, Shane Bieber (7-0, 1.25). After three games here the Twins play four games in Chicago on Monday through Thursday. They will then be only eight games left in the season.
PRINCETON SPORTS MEMORIES
Sept. 16 1965 — Dave Duncan (18 carries, 162 yards) and Joel Erickson (11 for 50) scored rushing touchdowns as Princeton beat non-conference opponent Sauk Rapids 12-0. Neither team completed a pass.
Sept. 16, 1970 — Princeton lost 21-14 at Orono in the season opener as Don Cordes and Mark Kelley ran for touchdowns, Cordes running for more than 100 yards.
Sept. 17, 1975 — The first-ever girls swim meet was held in Princeton vs. Cambridge with Ray Hendrickson as the coach . . . Jim Bowden placed 18th for PHS in the 18-team Purple Hawk Cross-Country Invitational at Cambridge.
Sept. 18, 1980 — The 10th annual Princeton Invitational drew1,567 runners and 54 teams. Doug Burns of Princeton placed 5th among 174 Class AA runners . . . The football team beat Pine city 18-0 as Scott Meyer threw for 123 yards. Jim Stoltz caught 7 passes for 94 yards and scored a touchdown.
Sept. 19, 1985 —The site of the 15th annual Princeton Cross-Country Invitational was changed from the Rum River Golf Club to the fairgrounds. The meet never returned to the golf course . . . Princeton beat Foley 34-0 in football as Ward Thompson ran for 67 yards and two touchdowns.
Sept. 20, 1990 — Tom Kluk ran for 175 yards and a touchdown in a 12-6 win over Foley . . . Anne Oliver had Princeton's only two first places as the swim team lost 123-63 to Forest Lake.
Sept. 21, 1995 —It was announced Cambridge would leave the Rum River Conference by the next school year . . . It was the 25th anniversary of the Princeton Invitational, billed as the largest high school cross-country meet in the world . . . Mark Stay threw for 104 yards but Princeton lost 14-12 to Sauk Rapids in the final minutes.
Sept. 14, 2000 —The PHS football team blocked two punts in a 21-0 win over Sauk Rapids and held the Storm to 65 yards as Jordon Snow and Dylan Donner recovered punts in the end zone for touchdowns . . . Candace Kutter of Princeton had a hole in one on hole No. 8 at Princeton Golf Club.
Sept. 22, 2005 — Dylan King, two days after placing second for the PHS cross-country team at the Mora Invitational, won an invitational at Princeton, 12 seconds ahead of the second-place runner … Alison Ringaman, a 1992 PHS grad, was a member of the All-Navy softball team that was traveling throughout the United States.
Sept. 23 2010 — Naomi Kolhoff scored three goals in a 5-3 win over the girls soccer team from Heritage Christian Academy . . . PHS grad Ryan Fay caught three passes for 63 yards and a touchdown as a tight end for Central Lakes College, Brainerd, in a 37-26 win over Mesabi Range.
Sept. 17, 2015 — The girls tennis team (8-2) won an eight-team invitational at Woodbury as Reilee Schepper, Kelsey Dorr, Anna Dahlen and the doubles team of Julia Bjurman and Megan Farley all placed first and Bri Dorr had a second . . . The PHS volleyball team finished at 3-1 and in second place at a tournament in Ogilvie as Maddie Nierengarten led in kills with 28, Mallory Jordahl had 23 and Sonia Stay 22. Sierra Mattson had 96 set assists.
(Dorr is the former editor of the Princeton Eagle (2 years) and Princeton Union-Eagle (31 years), and has covered sports in the area for the past 53 years.)