In this morning’s Today Show interview, her first since endorsing Donald Trump for president, Sarah Palin reminded us all what a strained relationship with reality looks like.
First and most important was Palin’s insistence to hosts Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie that she didn’t say in her endorsement speech of Trump that President Barack Obama’s alleged disrespect for U.S. soldiers contributes in some manner to the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder many soldiers experience, including her son.
“You said that President Obama may be to blame for some of the PTSD that’s out there,” Guthrie said.
“I never said that,” Palin interrupted, with a puzzled look.
“I never blamed President Obama,” she continued, explaining that she was simply criticizing Obama for his “level of disrespect for the United State military” as revealed by his military budget: “not trying to beef it up and let our military do the job that they are trained to do… Let’s get in there and utterly destroy ISIS” instead of deciding to “kowtow” and “allow the enemy to be poking at us.”
Palin seems to think the decline in military spending since 2010, from nearly $700 billion to about $600 billion in 2015, signals Obama’s disrespect for the military. Yes, there couldn’t possibly be more straightforward explanations, such as the end of the U.S. occupation of Iraq.
Her insistence that she didn’t claim Obama’s disrespect contributed to the damaged mental state of veterans is up for debate. Her words from her endorsement speech, original grammar and made-up words preserved, are as follows:
Our wounded warriors, sometimes in body and in mind, coming back different than when they left for the war zone. I can talk personally about this, I guess it’s kind of the elephant in the room, because my own family—going through what we’re going through today with my son, a combat vet having served in a striker brigade fighting for you all, America, in the war zone. But my son, like so many others—they come back a bit different. They come back hardened. They come back wondering if there is that respect for what it is that their fellow soldiers and airmen and every other member of the military so sacrificially have given to this country. And that starts from the top. It’s a shame that our military personnel even have to wonder, if they have to question if they are respected anymore.
That comes from our own president. Where they have to look at him and wonder, “Do you know what we go through? Do you know what we’re trying to do to secure America?”
So when my own son is going through what he goes through coming back, I can certainly relate with other families who kind of feel these ramifications of some PTSD and some of the woundedness that our soldiers do return with.
And it makes me realize, more than ever, it is now or never, for the sake of America’s finest, that we have that commander-in-chief who will respect them and honor them.
Obviously, it’s heavily implied that Obama is partially worsening the “woundedness” of soldiers. Palin may not have said it clearly–most of what she says is characterized by a lack of clarity–but she came very close.
Second, one can’t help but notice that despite Palin’s valiant stand for soldiers with PTSD, she advocates more of the very thing that causes it. ISIS must be “utterly destroyed.” No more “kowtowing.” The U.S. must unleash the dogs of war, continuing policies that leave U.S. soldiers–and far more foreigners–killed, maimed, traumatized, suicidal. Does Palin not understand the War on Terror is the direct cause of people coming back “different,” “hardened”?
As Weekend Collective noted, by 2015 half a million troops had a brain injury or PTSD, with 7,000 dead. Over 1 million innocent people in the Middle East died due to U.S. wars since 2001. Yet Palin pushes for more.
Thirdly, and bizarrely, Palin seemed miffed the topic even arose, and in her discomfort openly lied, and took a shot at the hostile liberal media in the process:
You guys brought me here to talk about Iowa politics and the caucus tonight, not to talk about my kids. And that was a promise. But, as things go in the world of media, you guys don’t always keep your promises evidently.
Yes, I’m sure NBC was so desperate to get an interview with Palin they promised to steer clear of the controversy.
Lauer had the deadpan look of a man about crush someone with cold hard facts when he said, “There were no specific promises made about content of the interview, only that this would be your first interview since you endorsed Donald Trump.”
Finally, in perhaps the closest Palin will ever come to acknowledging Donald Trump is a monster, the woman actually told Christian voters not to worry about his faith, a sharp difference from standard conservative strategy.
Guthrie said Palin’s appeal to evangelical Christian voters made her endorsement valuable to Trump, and asked if Trump was the “godly candidate” they sought.
Palin responded that she hoped voters weren’t looking for the “Christian-y, godliest candidate”! “People are looking for he who has that record of success that proves he’s going to be able to get the job done for us finally.”
When Sarah Palin tells religious people to worry about a candidate’s record and not his godliness, that’s probably a good sign religious voters should find someone new to support.