Donald Trump vs. the military industrial complex? Ha ha ha. But that’s what White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is trying to claim to prevent more stories about Trump’s bad relationship with the military.
Monday, Trump said “I’m not saying the military’s in love with me—the soldiers are, the top people in the Pentagon probably aren’t because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy.” In fact, Biden led Trump in a recent Military Times poll, though Trump is correct that enlisted members had a less unfavorable view of him than did officers.
Meadows tried to paint this as something other than an attack on top officials like Defense Secretary Mark Esper or Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Gen. Mark Milley. “Those comments are not directed specifically at them as much as it is what we all know happens in Washington, DC,” he claimed, adding “That comment was more directed about the military industrial complex.”
Esper is one of five former lobbyists in the Defense Department. He is the embodiment of the military industrial complex. Add to that the fact that six former Defense Department officials have become lobbyists. And that Trump has constantly emphasized how much money he is sending to the Pentagon specifically for equipment—even inflating those already huge numbers.
Donald Trump is mad because Milley tried to distance himself from the violent clearing of peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square so Trump could have a photo op back in June, and because military leaders support stripping Confederate names off military bases, and of course because all that stuff about Trump calling service members killed or taken prisoner in war “losers” and “suckers” came out in part because of former military leaders leaking anonymously to the press. But the idea that he’s anything but one of the most enthusiastic boosters of the military industrial complex is absurd.