At Military Cemetery, Trump Was Bewildered By The Concept Of Personal Sacrifice

Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead / Public Domain


"I don’t get it. What was in it for them?" President Trump said.

When President Donald Trump visited Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day 2017, he joined then secretary of homeland security John Kelly in paying respects to Kelly’s son, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2010.

According to The Atlantic, the president’s inability to understand Americans’ respect for fallen, injured and captured service members was on full display.

  • “Trump was meant, on this visit, to join John Kelly in paying respects at his son’s grave, and to comfort the families of other fallen service members,” the report states. “But according to sources with knowledge of this visit, Trump, while standing by Robert Kelly’s grave, turned directly to his father and said, ‘I don’t get it. What was in it for them?’”
  • Kelly declined to comment for The Atlantic’s story, but people close to him said he initially believed “Trump was making a ham-handed reference to the selflessness of America’s all-volunteer force.”
  • However, it later became apparent to Kelly “that Trump simply does not understand non-transactional life choices.”

“He can’t fathom the idea of doing something for someone other than himself,” one of Kelly’s friends, a retired four-star general, told me. “He just thinks that anyone who does anything when there’s no direct personal gain to be had is a sucker. There’s no money in serving the nation.” Kelly’s friend went on to say, “Trump can’t imagine anyone else’s pain. That’s why he would say this to the father of a fallen marine on Memorial Day in the cemetery where he’s buried.”

Read the full report.


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