“Former President Donald Trump had a contentious relationship with U.S. military leadership and a shallow grasp of military values and 20th century history, according to an excerpt of a new book, The Divider, published Monday in The New Yorker. One of the more memorable anecdotes veteran reporters Peter Baker and Susan Glasser recount in their book involves a conversation Trump had with his chief of staff John Kelly, a retired Marine general.
‘You f—ing generals, why can’t you be like the German generals?’ Trump reportedly asked Kelly. When Kelly asked which generals he meant, Trump said, ‘The German generals in World War II,’ the book recounts. Kelly asked Trump, ‘You do know that they tried to kill Hitler three times and almost pulled it off?’ And Trump apparently didn’t believe him, responding, ‘No, no, no, they were totally loyal to him.’”
Donald Trump is often compared to a mafia godfather, but a more accurate comparison would be to a dictator. During his scandal-plagued tenure Trump demonstrated an affinity for dictators and often showered them with praise.
When he was commander-in-chief Trump often said “my generals” and “my military”, suggesting that he considered the military his own private militia.
I’m not surprised Trump told his then chief of staff John Kelly, a retired Marine general:
‘You fucking generals, why can’t you be like the German generals?’
Trump expected American generals to be as loyal as the German general were to Adolph Hitler. Trump saw himself as a Hitler figure and he expected undying loyalty from the generals.
When Kelly informed Trump that Hitler’s generals plotted to assassinate him, he scoffed at the idea. Trump is no historian and he has his own version of reality, and in his demented mind Hitler’s generals would never turn against him.
Our democracy will not survive if a monster who fails to learn any lessons from history, and who dismisses the Constitution, and who patterns himself after dictators returns to the White House.