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Trump still doesn’t understand how raises for US troops work

The Associated Press asked Donald Trump this week why he hasn’t yet visited a military base in a combat zone like in Iraq and Afghanistan. The president said he would eventually, though he doesn’t see it as “overly necessary.”

Trump added, “I’ve been very busy with everything that’s taking place here…. I’m doing a lot of things. I’m doing a lot of things.”

He didn’t specify what those “things” are, exactly, though they apparently include activities such as golfing, watching television, and holding a whole lot of campaign rallies. (I wonder what would’ve happened if Barack Obama had peddled a line like this one.)

But as part of the Republican president’s answer, he added a familiar  claim:

“Nobody has been better at the military. Hey, I just got them a pay raise. [They] haven’t had a pay raise in 11 years. I just got them a substantial pay raise. ‘They’ meaning our military people.”

In one recent iteration of this story, Trump said the troops hadn’t received a raise in “10 years.” Now it’s up to 11.

Except, to the extent that the truth matters, it should be zero. As we discussed a few months ago, there were raises for our military in 2017. And 2016. And 2015 and 2014. And every other year of the Obama era. And every year of the Bush era. And every year of the Clinton era.

In fact, the military has gotten a raise practically every year since the end of World War II. It’s the sort of detail a competent Commander in Chief should probably be aware of.

As for why Trump keeps repeating this lie, I suspect Cadet Bone Spurs considers himself some kind of unique champion of the military.

He isn’t. In fact, Trump may have convinced himself that “nobody has been better at the military” – whatever that means – but many in uniform are unimpressed.

President Donald Trump’s approval rating among active-duty military personnel has slipped over the last two years, leaving today’s troops evenly split over whether they’re happy with the commander in chief’s job performance, according to the results of a new Military Times poll of active-duty service members.

About 44 percent of troops had a favorable view of Trump’s presidency, the poll showed, compared to 43 percent who disapproved.

The results suggest Trump’s support among active-duty military personnel is a little higher than with the civilian population, but not by much.


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