World leaders will gather in solemn assembly next week above the sandy beaches of Normandy to mark the 75th anniversary of the world-changing D-Day invasion of France. It’s typically a heartfelt tribute to alliance and sacrifice and a unified vow for enduring unity, outweighing any national or political skirmish of the moment.
That’s what has some U.S. veterans and others worried about President Donald Trump’s attendance. The president has shown a repeated willingness to inject nationalistic rhetoric and political partisanship into moments once aimed at unity. For Trump, there is no water’s edge for politics, no veneer of nonpartisanship around military or national security matters.
The president, who did not serve in the military before becoming commander in chief, has feuded with Gold Star families, blasted political opponents on foreign soil, and mocked Sen. John McCain, a prisoner of war, for being captured by the enemy. Trump’s antipathy for the late senator was so well known that the White House this week requested that the Navy keep the USS McCain out of the president’s line of sight during a recent trip to Japan, so as not to rile the president.