Leadership matters: President's words and actions show he is unfit to lead our nation
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It’s no secret that President TrumpDonald John TrumpFox News president, top anchors advised to quarantine after coronavirus exposure: report Six notable moments from Trump and Biden's '60 Minutes' interviews Biden on attacks on mental fitness: Trump thought '9/11 attack was 7/11 attack' MORE disdains military service, belittles veterans, and dishonors the sacrifice of military families. He fabricated an injury to avoid Vietnam, repeatedly attacked Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMark Kelly releases Spanish ad featuring Rep. Gallego More than 300 military family members endorse Biden Jennifer Lawrence says until Trump she was 'a little Republican' MORE (R-Ariz.) in life and after death, and most recently blamed Gold Star families for infecting him with COVID-19. We know that isn’t how he got COVID-19. Trump has ignored widely accepted public health recommendations for months and his recklessness almost certainly caught up with him at the White House Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettSenate Democrats hold talkathon to protest Barrett's Supreme Court nomination I know what illegal abortion looks like, does Amy Coney Barrett? Democratic senator votes against advancing Amy Coney Barrett nomination while wearing RBG mask MORE COVID-19 superspreader event.

We in Arizona know what it means to serve our country. Over 500,000 veterans call Arizona home. Thousands of soldiers train in the state’s seven premier military bases and test our nation’s most advanced weapon systems. For 35 years, we elected a war hero who was shot down, held hostage, and tortured to represent us in Congress. Whether you agreed with Sen. McCain or not, he never let anything undermine his unwavering support for our troops and our veterans. He always answered the call of duty. Partisanship stopped when lives were on the line.

Donald Trump is cut from a different cloth than John McCain. Service, honor, and duty are meaningless to Trump. The servicemembers who embody those values are nothing more than a political pawn and a talking point at a rally for him. He capitalizes on division and chaos for political gain. That is the type of person he is. But I write this not to tell you something you already know.


I write to tell you about the men and women who I fought alongside in Iraq. They were from all walks of life — we lived in big cities and rural areas; were born into immigrant families and from families who have lived in the United States for generations; country music fans and hip-hop fans; we worshipped in different churches, mosques, or not at all; some went to college while others didn’t; and we were all different races and ethnicities.

But we all shared many things in common. We all answered the call of duty. None of us claimed we had “bone spurs.” None of us were “suckers” or “losers.” All of us and our families knew that our service might result in the ultimate sacrifice. And all of us, regardless of our differences, fought together for a common purpose. We all knew that the team wouldn’t survive if the only thing anyone ever thought of was themselves.

Even after four years of Trump breaking every single norm and ethical standard of the American presidency, leadership still matters. Every time Trump dishonors our war dead, military families or veterans, it shows that he is unfit to lead our nation and the men and women who risk their lives for everything we hold dear. I can tell you from experience that type of behavior hurts morale, empowers our enemies, makes it harder to recruit and makes us less safe.

Every time Trump downplayed COVID-19, said it would magically go away, played the victim, and politicized public health recommendations, it showed that he is unwilling to make the tough choices necessary to protect the American people and safeguard our economy. Over 200,000 Americans died, millions were infected, and millions lost their jobs as a result. Trump can’t protect the American people if all he is ever thinking about is himself. Leadership matters.

Trump’s latest insult to Gold Star families and effort to blame them for his infection is nothing new. It’s another attempt to distract and deflect attention away from his arrogance and incompetence and safeguard the only thing he cares about — his ego.

Strength whispers; weakness screams. And right now, Trump is louder than ever.

Ruben GallegoRuben GallegoMark Kelly releases Spanish ad featuring Rep. Gallego Legal marijuana backers tout potential money for states Leadership matters: President's words and actions show he is unfit to lead our nation MORE represents the 7th District of Arizona and serves on the House Armed Services Committee. He is a Marine Corps combat veteran who fought in Iraq.