Even his critics, such as Jim Acosta and Joe Scarborough, said that President Donald Trump did a good job with his speech at Normandy.
His rhetoric captured the heroism of those who stormed Omaha Beach 75 years ago and brought about the end of the Nazi government in Germany.
But in a news article on the Vox website, the quality of the speech was acknowledged but the propriety of having President Trump deliver it was called into question.
“Trump’s D-Day speech was great. He was the wrong man to give it,” read the headline on Alex Ward’s story. “Trump is a draft dodger. He criticizes European allies. And he picks political fights on hallowed ground,” read the subhead.
Trump’s remarks before the crowd in France “were arguably the best of his presidency, leading even some of his top critics to conceded that the president rose to the moment,” Ward began. “But the address was also a stark example of how a speech can ring hollow because of who delivered it. In this case, Trump’s stirring words – while they surely meant a lot to those who heard them – ultimately fell short because of the nature of the man himself and his presidency.”
Ward provided three reasons for why Trump was the wrong man to represent the United States on such an occasion. “First, despite his show of appreciation for military service, Trump avoided donning the uniform himself – putting him in stark contrast to those who gave up home comforts to fight and die in Normandy,” Ward wrote.
Ward’s second reason Trump was unfit to speak for the nation in Normandy is that he “used the occasion to underscore and reaffirm the decades-long alliance between the US and Europe, even though he’s spent much of his presidency undermining it.:
His evidence that Trump has undermined the alliance between the US and Europe is that he has “long questioned the utility of NATO, cozied up with Russian President Vladimir Putin and openly berated European nations for, among other things, letting in refugees from the Middle East and not spending enough on defense. What’s more, he’s championed Britain’s divorce from the European Union, a decision that has thrown one of America’s oldest allies and the entire bloc into political chaos.”
Ward did not mention that Trump wants NATO nations to increase defense spending to strengthen the alliance.
The phrase “questioning the utility of NATO” refers to a story from January in the New York Times that charged the president was openly discussing withdrawing the US from NATO. It is attributed solely to anonymous sources, and no other substantiation has been made public, nor movement toward withdrawal detected.
Finally, Ward took issue with an interview Trump did shortly before the ceremonies with Laura Ingraham of Fox News in which he retaliated for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying he belonged in jail by calling her “Nervous Nancy” and “a disaster.” He also said special counsel Robert Mueller “made a fool out of himself” the last time he appeared in public.
“For Trump to denigrate two fellow Americans – whom he may not like but whose patriotism and loyalty to the country is unquestionable (Mueller, for example, is a veteran) – while sitting just a few feet away from the remains of America’s fallen military heroes greatly takes away from the power of the speech,” Ward wrote.
“That’s not to say the president shouldn’t have given the address,” Ward concluded. “He had to based on the enormity of the moment, and the remarks were unquestionably stirring. But Trump’s past and his time in office turn the address into little more than a lovely string of words unreflective of his character.
“He was, in almost every way, the wrong man at the wrong time for hat speech. If Trump really wants to honor D-Day heroes, he should live and work by their values from here on out.”