22 October 2020

Beth F. Coye

         Jeffrey Goldberg’s recent expose in The Atlantic of President Trump’s contempt for the military triggered deep personal feelings of anger and disgust. These allegations add to an ever-growing body of evidence that he is a fundamentally flawed and dangerously unqualified president.  He is devoid of any understanding of the military’s mission as an institution created to protect our democracy and its values.  As such, he disrespects allAmericans.

         I was born and raised in a military family that sacrificed itself for the “needs of the Navy.”  Dad, the late Rear Admiral John S. Coye, Jr, was one of our nation’s top submarine skippers during WWII. Our family gladly paid the extra price of service for the sake of protecting our country. My parents lost many close friends who made the ultimate sacrifice — submarine heroes, not “losers” or “suckers.”

         My own groundbreaking naval career – which began more than 50 years ago when I was a rare female intelligence officer –was challenging and exciting.  My naval officer’s oath, which became a permanent part of my soul, directed that I “…defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic (own italics.)”

          In 2018, I concluded that Donald Trump’s regime was a domestic threat to our Constitution. I substantiated this conclusion, as an experienced intelligence officer, with a threat analysis that addressed: presidential character, poor leadership, institutional takedowns, suspicious connections to Russia (a proven foreign enemy), encouragement of conflicts and chaos, and betrayal of core national values.

         That 2018 analysis has been validated by subsequent presidential actions.  A few shameful examples in recent months include Trump’s:  (1) refusal to investigate or act on reports that Russian military intelligence secretly offered the Taliban bounties to kill U.S. troops; (2) denial of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Report that his campaign had improper relations with Russians during the September 2016 election; (3) misuse of military troops and federal police to fuel gratuitous racial tensions and animus within the country; (4) incessant presidential lies to cause confusion and undermine truth and facts.  As of July 20, 2020, according to the Washington Post, the President has made more than 20,000 false or misleading statements; (5) refusal to follow scientists’ recommendations on Covid-19 and develop a national testing program. (This failure substantially and unconscionably increased American deaths and hurt our economy.  More than 190 U.S. Navy ships have been infected with Covid-19.)

         Trump’s hostility towards the military community demonstrates that he is unfit to be Commander-in-Chief. Greed and self-interest dominate his psyche rather than the values of service and sacrifice. His words that military members are not “smart” and are “losers” and “suckers” showcase his insecurity and physical cowardice, supported by four military deferments. 

         General John Kelly, former Trump Chief of Staff, said this president is “the most flawed person I have ever met.” General James Mattis, former Secretary of Defense, says Trump is a “threat to the Constitution.” 

       In 2020 the U.S. government operates in intensely dangerous and unprecedented waters. Governmental checks and balances have been ineffectual in holding the President accountable. That a U.S. president with serious character faults has the power to initiate a nuclear attack, alarms both international and U.S. national security experts. The Republican senators’ silence is appalling and high risk-taking. 

         In no way is it in our national interest to allow this unsound person to continue moving our country from democracy toward authoritarianism. Trump is encouraging cult-like tactics to dupe a large portion of the nation — including government officials — into accepting an authoritarian government, far from what the Founders intended. 

        And, while it is damn hard at times to strive for our democratic goals, we must never give up. We’ve come a long way and with a change in leadership, we will get on the right path and thrive once again. Polonius spoke, “to thine own self be true.” I say, “to thine own country be true.”

         I stand with Major M.J. Hegar, USAF (Ret.), Texas senatorial candidate, who, once she overcame her shock from reading the Goldberg article, stated: “This is a Call to Action.”

         America, wake upThis is not a drill. You’re being betrayed. Democracy’s future is under fire. Voters, you must make your voices heard — NOW!