As Donald Trump insisted military leaders he ordered to join him at his controversial July Fourth bash were “thrilled” to be there, a group of veterans issued a video Thursday calling for the president’s impeachment.
“Not only is [Trump] cruel — I believe he’s also a criminal,” says Marine Corps vet Marie Delus, one of several former service members in the video created by the veterans group Common Defense in conjunction with Democratic billionaire Tom Steyer’s organization Need to Impeach.
Steyer’s group has gathered more than 8.2 million signatures on an online petition calling on Congress to begin impeachment proceedings, largely based on the report of special counsel Robert Mueller detailing Russian interference in the 2016 election and Trump’s attempts to obstruct Mueller’s investigation.
Mueller found that Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s regime actively sought to help Trump and that Trump’s campaign welcomed that help ― but that there was insufficient evidence to charge a criminal conspiracy.
The veterans featured in the video were less circumspect in their assessments. July Fourth is about “celebrating our independence from foreign powers,” says Army veteran Perry O’Brien. “How can we do that when we have someone in the White House who actively conspired with a foreign adversary to get there?” he asked.
Marine Corps vet Alexander McCoy says his job was protecting American embassies from foreign infiltration. “I never suspected our commander in chief would be colluding with a foreign dictator to undermine our democracy,” he added.
Common Defense lead organizer and Marine Corps vet Kyle Bibby said he doesn’t believe Trump is “serious about our values ... [or] serious about his job to serve the American people.”
In another veteran’s broadside against the president on Thursday, journalist Elliott Woods, who served in Iraq with the Virginia Army National Guard, mocked Trump’s fascination with outmoded military tanks in a world of sophisticated insurgencies and cyberwarfare. Woods said in an op-ed for The New York Times that Trump, who avoided the draft with a medical deferment for bone spurs, has “never been closer to warfare than has a child playing on the floor with toy tanks and green plastic army men.”
Trump’s “fondness for tanks is part of the insidious nostalgia that undergirds his entire ‘Make America Great Again’ ideology,” Woods wrote. Trump has “promised his followers that he can take them back to that time — and they seem ready to believe him.”
Check out the Common Defense video above.