On the heels of much-heralded Presidential pardons of soldiers convicted of war crimes, Trump’s approval rating among active duty military is indeed down.
Today’s column is meant as a follow-up to our recent piece: “Another Overheard Coffee Shop Conversation Does Not Bode Well For Trump”.
In that, we related a conversation we’d overheard among a party of two couples sitting together across from us, at least two of whom were ex-military, and one who seemed to be a Trump supporter. And who all—including the Trump booster—felt the President had gone too far when he pardoned several soldiers who’d been convicted of war crimes, including former Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher.
Now a poll in Military Times appears to validate the assertion we made based on that initial anecdote. It finds in the days after Trump issued those pardons, his popularity fell with active-duty military personnel, for that among other reasons. His unfavorable rating now sneaking up to about 50%, from just 37% when he first took office. Although he remains slightly more popular with the military community than among U.S. citizens overall.
Here’s a graphic from that publication, which starts from the time Trump was elected:
Yeah, we hate polls. Still, it does at least indicate what we reported was not entirely an aberration, and the people we were listening to weren’t just a crazy bunch of outliers.
And since then Trump has gone even further, inviting Gallagher to a reception and meet-and-greet with him at Mar-a-Lago over Christmas. Which Gallagher’s wife commemorated on her joint Instagram:
That all happening as additional details emerge about exactly how loathsome Gallagher’s behavior was to other Navy SEALS who served in his platoon.
Still, Trump supporters tend to end up being very forgiving of the President. Even if they’re thrown for a bit by his more egregious acts. In this case overturning long-standing protocols on rules of combat, and who determines what the punishment is for violating those rules. (The President is officially the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces, so it’s well within his rights to do so. However that doesn’t mean his exercising of this power to reverse decisions that are typically handled in-house and to extol the virtues of someone who the Navy decided should be stripped of rank and honors is viewed as righteous).
At the same time, all the Trump supporters we knew who told us his “pussy grabbing” comments made it impossible to vote for him, were back on board after just a couple of days. So the same thing could happen here. Although the people we know involved with the military seem to have longer memories and more of a sense of history than most other people we know, regardless of their politics.
Still, if recent history, at least, is any indicator, that level of disapproval among the military over the President ignoring and overruling the best judgment of not one but many soldiers who saw the now Trump-approved Navy SEAL’s actions firsthand, should wane in the coming months as the blot of the President’s disrespectful actions is bound to fade. At least for some.