A retired U.S. Army general and Pierce County resident has seen a viral response to a video he made criticizing President Trump for disparaging comments about dead and wounded U.S. service members.
In a video posted to his Twitter account on Sept. 3, retired Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton told Trump he’s “no patriot.” The video has since received over 4 million views.
Eaton posted the video as a response to a report in The Atlantic which said Trump allegedly called U.S. service members buried in a French cemetery “losers.” The report also said Trump asked a military parade to exclude wounded veterans because “nobody wants to see” amputees.
“You have shown disrespect to the military on countless occasions,” Eaton said in the video. “I am stunned that anybody in the United States military would consider you anything but a ‘loser’ or a ‘sucker.’ You’re no patriot.”
The president has denied the report calling it “fake news” and a “disgrace.”
“I never called … John (McCain) a loser and swear on whatever, or whoever, I was asked to swear on, that I never called our great fallen soldiers anything other than HEROES,” the president wrote Thursday on Twitter. “This is more made up Fake News given by disgusting & jealous failures in a disgraceful attempt to influence the 2020 Election.”
Eaton, who lives in Fox Island, was stationed at Fort Lewis, now Joint-Base Lewis McChord, from 1985 until 1990 and again for one year in 2000 as a leader in the developing Stryker program.
This isn’t Eaton’s first time going viral. Early this year, he posted another video, which nearly 200,000 people saw, calling for changes to be made to military installations named after confederate generals. Eaton is a former commander of Fort Benning, named for Confederate Gen. Henry L. Benning.
“The first time I stepped onto Fort Benning was 1967, and I found it odd we would name a military installation after a Confederate general,” Eaton said. “I wonder what every Black American citizen reporting to Fort Benning for training think about an installation named after a traitor.”
Eaton is now a senior adviser at VoteVets.org, a political action committee focused on getting veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afganistan elected to public office. Since the publishing of The Atlantic report, VoteVets.org has seized the chance to boost military and veteran support of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
“This is not surprising, nor is it the first time President Trump has attacked veterans, but it is a new low, even for Trump,” said Will Goodwin, director of government relations for VoteVets.org. “Soon, with the votes of millions of veterans and active duty service members, we will again have a president and commander in chief worthy of the title — Joe Biden.”
Eaton told The News Tribune that while the military is a relatively conservative organization, that doesn’t necessarily mean all military voters will vote for Republican candidates. In a recent Military Times survey of active-duty service members, 37% of troops said they would vote for Trump while 41% said they’d cast their ballot for Biden.
Eaton said military and veteran voters are not “hostage to the GOP.”
“When it comes to civil military relations, Trump is a disaster,” Eaton said. “He came in loving the trappings of the military — the parades, the bands, the uniform — but he doesn’t understand who we are.”
Eaton said service members need to “take a long hard look at the Republican party,” before voting in November.
This week, Eaton appeared in a VoteVets.org video responding to excerpts of Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward’s new book on the Trump presidency. In the book, Woodward wrote that Trump used derogatory language to describe top generals in a meeting with his trade adviser.
“You insult brave men and women who have done our nation’s bidding, and you are reflecting upon yourself the very words you’re using to describe those men and women,” Eaton said. “You are demonstrating cowardice.”