Trump lacks temperament, judgment


Like many families in Michigan, my parents worked hard to join the middle class. Growing up in Dearborn Heights as the son of a police officer and a high school lunch lady, my parents taught me the values I strive to live by every day — to appreciate what you have, respect others, always be honest and serve others through your life’s work.

These same values led me to serve our country in uniform. After graduating from high school and attending two years of college, I still couldn’t forget the images I saw during the September 11 terrorist attacks. A profound sense of duty led me to a United States Marine Corps recruiting office in 2006. Enlisting on the spot, I went on to serve two tours of duty in Iraq as a Scout Sniper Platoon member.

The men and women I served alongside — who sacrificed so much while wearing the cloth of our country — are some of the finest people I know. But Donald Trump is now trying to use veterans and military families as political talking points to get to the White House.

The truth is, throughout his presidential campaign and his career before becoming a political candidate, he has shown veterans and military families an incredible amount of disrespect.

Before running for president, Trump scammed students, including veterans, at his failed school, Trump University. This is the same now-defunct university that is facing a lawsuit claiming fraud.

In New York City, Donald Trump repeatedly tried to kick out veterans who were street vendors on Fifth Avenue outside his own Trump Tower. He went so far as to pen a letter to a state lawmaker and later the mayor, acknowledging some of the vendors were disabled veterans, but nonetheless arguing to remove them, because in his view, they were damaging the prestige of his neighborhood.

Trump’s disrespect for prisoners of war like Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain is also an insult to all service members. We need a president that seeks to unite our country — not someone that divides Americans with such hateful rhetoric.

As disturbing as Trump’s past treatment of veterans are the dangerous policies he is pushing as a presidential candidate. His campaign has signaled he wants to privatize veterans’ health care and the VA, which could lead to veterans not getting the health care they need. Veterans overwhelmingly oppose privatizing the VA — 64 percent of service members do not agree with this approach. The Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion also are against this proposal.

In the ever-changing, sometimes dangerous world that we live in, I know that America deserves a steady and capable commander in chief. Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric and dangerous policies show that he does not stand with veterans and military families.

Sen. David Knezek, D-Dearborn Heights, represents the 5th District in the Michigan Senate.