I’m writing to discuss something that is important to me. Hopefully it’s also important to other Mainers and Americans. President Trump’s treatment of military families, veterans, prisoners of war and Americans killed in action is deeply troubling, and leads veterans like me to question his fitness to lead our nation.

I’m inherently skeptical about accusations with serious consequences. But based on President Trump’s history of disrespecting Americans in uniform, I believe the current allegations and their sources, which been verified by news outlets as varied as the Associated Press and Fox News.

Referring to John McCain, Trump said, “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” This deep insult of a Republican senator, Navy veteran and beloved American hero who was tortured for five years as a POW in Vietnam comes from a president who received medical deferments from the Vietnam War because of an alleged bone spur in his foot.

A few weeks ago I saw a neighbor’s Trump sign, and didn’t pay much attention. I recognize and continue to support their First Amendment right to display that sign on their property. But today, I hope that they will consider removing that sign. Based on current credible allegations that are consistent with Trump’s history, I now see the sign differently. I know they don’t want to intentionally disrespect veterans. But for me and many of my fellow veterans, that’s exactly what that sign does.

Mark Goettel
lieutenant, U.S. Navy (retired)

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