Donald Trump continues his precedent-setting presidency as his demand for a southern border wall that a majority of Americans do not want results in the first time in US history that service members in the US armed forces have not be paid due to a government shutdown.
That’s the word from Coast Guard commandant Karl Schultz, who urged the more than 42K active duty members via a Jan. 15 tweet to “rise above adversity, stay the course, stand the watch and serve with pride.”
Since the Coast Guard is part of the Dept. of Homeland Security, it has received no funding since Trump’s shutdown.
The president, who in the past has showered praise upon the Coast Guard has ignored the financial struggles of its service members caused by his shutdown.
During his Thanksgiving teleconference with the military, Trump said, “There’s no brand that’s gone up like the Coast Guard over the last few years,” perhaps referring to its role in hurricane relief efforts in in the waters of Texas, Puerto Rico, North Carolina and South Carolina.
A better bet: Trump likes the Coast Guard brand because it protects him when he hobnobs with the wealthy clientele of his members-only Palm Beach estate.
After all, with the president, it’s always about him.
Coast Guard cutters, helicopters, patrol boats and anti-terror personnel protect Trump when he vacations at Mar-a-Lago.
That protection costs some serious coin. The Washington Post reported July 28, 2017 that the Coast Guard spent more than $6.6M protecting Trump during his seven visits to Mar-a-Lago in the spring of that year.
That Trump protection money is funding diverted from drug interdiction, search & rescue, inspections or port patrols.
While the president shows no empathy for his vacation bodyguards, USAA has stepped up via a donation $15M in interest-free loans to financially-strapped Coast Guard members. The American Red Cross will handle electronic distribution of the loans up to $1,000 and $750 for service members without dependents.
San Antonio-based USAA provides banking, investments, insurance and retirement products to 12.8M current/former members of the military.
Hat’s off to USAA.
Of the little presidential respect shown toward the Coast Guard, the service’s founder Alexander Hamilton must be turning over in his grave.