Meet the veterans who think Trump is a terrible choice for President
‘We will protest his words of hate and bigotry until he is done’
Columbia student and former US Marine Alex McCoy protested the Republican nominee right outside Trump Tower with a group of veterans today.
He’s part of a growing movement of servicemen and women who are demonstrating against Donald Trump, who is eager to present himself as the “law and order candidate” and a friend of the military.
But this weekend Trump drew the ire of many in the armed forces community for criticizing the Muslim parents of Captain Humayun Khan, who died fighting in Iraq in 2004.
“We came here to honor, we came here to respect, and we came here to ask the man who owns this tower to do the same for all,” said this morning’s demonstrators. “We will protest his words of hate and bigotry until he is done.”
We met the veterans who demonstrated in solidarity with their Muslim comrades and asked why they won’t be voting Trump this November.
Troy Mack, 36, West New York, NJ
“I am unaware of anything more pressing at this particular time than the current election coming up in November of this year. The main reason for this is because as opposed to previous elections when there was a debate along the lines of a fundamental unity between the parties there were certain areas where we agreed on how our citizenry should comport itself what obligations the state had to the citizens and ultimately what our goal was as a common community.
“The current candidate for the republican party, Donald Trump, has brought into question whether we share those common bonds of affection that have defined us in previous generations. Nowhere is this more evident than in his treatment of the Khan family and the sacrifice of their son, Captain Khan, in the Iraq war. It is for this reason, out of concern for Gold Star families, my fellow veterans and the future of the country that I decided to attend this rally today.”
Retired Colonel Katherine Scheirman, 66, New York City
“I joined Vets vs Hate because I spent more than 20 years in the United States Air Force as a doctor. My last assignment was as Chief of Medical Operations for headquarters United States Air Forces in Europe, USAFE, at Ramstein Airbase, Germany. I watched many patriotic dedicated, hardworking, Muslim-American doctors, nurses and other health personnel take care of the daily arrival of wounded Americans from Iraq and Afghanistan and to hear Donald Trump denigrate and act in such a despicable way to the Khan family who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
“I can tell you as a mother that any person would rather die themselves than lose a child and so here I am. I just can’t stand it and so that’s why I’m here to support the Khan family. I’m here to support all of the patriotic Muslims who serve in our military now and all the patriotic Hispanics and all the women and all the patriotic gay people, all of whom, Donald Trump seems to think haven’t sacrificed as much as he has. To be honest, he has sacrificed nothing. He hasn’t even, as far as anyone knows, even paid his fair share of taxes to support a government that he claims to not only love but want to lead. I’m sorry, he’s completely unqualified.”
Emma Lardner, 27, New York, NY
“I’m here because Vets vs Hate’s main message is to speak out against the type of rhetoric that Trump uses and I think that with any public figure how you say things is as important as what you say. We’ve had political candidates and people in the spotlight before who have very bad views but they don’t express them in such a way where they’re degrading people and using them to kind of step up their own agenda.
“I served with Muslims, I have met many of them, I’m friends with many and the idea that Trump should degrade someone’s family in that way, especially someone that served instead of honoring that sacrifice and honoring those people who raised someone who was willing to volunteer. I think it’s important that people know that this is the person they think they want to vote for.”
Sahar Alsahlani, 47, Pittsburgh, PA
“Well I have a lot friends who are veterans and I’m Iraqi-American and for about four years I was a contractor for the American forces network. Although there are lots of nuances with regards to militarism, you know, I’m personally for non-violence. But at the time a lot of my friends who were serving in the military, it’s such an interesting dichotomy because a lot of them were really against the Iraq war but that’s their job and they take orders. So at the moment when you’re trying to entertain troops, and it’s not so much about entertaining troops and their families that are overseas, its providing them with a slice of home and helping them with their mission. They’re isolated. They’re lonely. They see their family maybe once every two or three years. The kids who are doing schools across the world. I see what they’re going through. I see at that moment what they’re dealing with. It is a sacrifice on their part. Although they might not agree with what they’re doing, in their hearts they believe that it is part of their mission.
“For Mr Trump to belittle the loss of any parent of a fallen solider, to me it really kind of stung me because I saw the tremendous amount that families go through, whether the entire family is on a base with them in Germany or in Peru or in Korea or whether it’s a young gentleman on a ship or by himself in a submarine. That’s the first thing that kind of really got me. Another comment was when he said… when he attacked the mother and said whether she’s allowed to speak or not and for me, as a Muslim woman, you know, to kind of throw in a cheap shot if you will about the capability of her speaking or even the eligibility for her to speak with regards to the Muslim tradition was uncalled for.
“Ten percent of the doctors in this country are Muslim, three of them happen to be my sisters. You know, I have a Master’s. My mother came here because she got her PhD. For him to even throw in that shot I thought was an extra jab and unnecessary and I wanted to call him out on that. Don’t cherry pick what you think is part of my faith and don’t diminish the intellectual capabilities of the Muslims in this society.”