Yesterday the president left the White House on Marine One unexpectedly. It led to a tweet from the Associated Press which said "Trump has left the White House on Marine One on an unannounced trip, White House has not disclosed his destination."
That phrasing struck me as funny -- where might an erratic president go without telling anyone? --so a minute later I made a couple of stabs at humor. First I tweeted an image from the graphic novel, "Watchmen," in which president Nixon rides in Marine One as an apocalypse looms. Then I tweeted an image from the final episode of the TV show "M*A*S*H" with a view from a helicopter looking down onto the rocks that Hawkeye had arranged to say "Goodbye," except they had been Photoshopped to say "Delete Your Account." I wrote "Trump's view from Marine One." They were not good jokes to be sure, but they were pretty harmless ones.
A little while later, after I was offline for the evening, it was revealed that Trump had left to go to the air base where the remains of Ryan Owens, a Navy SEAL killed in action in Yemen were arriving. I obviously did not know that at the time I made my jokes, but it's not as if it made a difference given that my jokes were pretty benign ones that had nothing to do with the substance of Trump's trip, whatever it was.
A couple of hours later I returned to Twitter to find a dozen or so people with "Deplorable" or "Make America Great Again" in their bios tweeting things at me, NBC, Major League Baseball and places like Fox News and Breitbart to the effect of "NBC must fire the anti-patriot Craig Calcaterra! "Craig Calcaterra hates our troops!" and "Craig Calcaterra must apologize to our fallen troops!" And those were the mild and coherent ones. Many others told me that I deserved to die "a traitor's death" and that someone should take me out and have me shot. I've been on Twitter for a long time, I've seen that stuff and did what I always do when I see it: block users and report accounts for threats of violence. Not that it does any good.
This morning I woke up to news that the president (a) threatened the president of Mexico that he might send troops across the border; (b) insulted the president of Australia, one of our longest standing allies; and (c) trotted out surrogates to put Iran "on notice." Then I read something far more sobering than any of that: reports that the first military raid Trump authorized was an utter debacle of hasty and shoddy planning, leading to unnecessary death and destruction. Including the death of Ryan Owens, the SEAL whose body he flew on Marine One yesterday to welcome home.
But please, folks, tell me how I'm the one who is irresponsible when it comes to our armed forces.