President Donald Trump has been talking about “the forgotten men and women of America” at rallies and in the Oval Office, but he’s been silent on one group in particular: the men and men of the military.
As Trump has ramped up his rhetoric and policy shifts, a small but vocal group of soldiers have been making their voices heard on Capitol Hill.
The men and boys of the U.S. Military Academy and Marine Corps are taking to the House floor on Thursday to voice their concerns with Trump and his administration.
The group is the Soldiers and Sailors for Equality (SSME), a group of about a dozen active-duty and reserve members that has been organizing since Trump was elected.
In March, it filed a lawsuit on behalf of the men who had been left out of Trump’s military draft.
The suit alleges that Trump has not honored the men’s right to receive the draft as scheduled and that he is undermining the draft by continuing to withhold service members’ benefits.
“We’re trying to educate the president about the importance of the draft, but we’re also trying to make sure that we’re able to do that without putting the lives of our guys in danger,” said Maj. Gen. Joseph D. Stokes, a spokesperson for the SSME.
“He’s making it easier for him to ignore our needs and our concerns,” Stokes added.
The SSME is a nonprofit organization that is comprised of active- and reserve-duty men and girls from all branches of the armed services, and includes more than 10,000 members, the most of any U. S. veterans organization.
The group claims to be the largest military veterans’ advocacy group, with more than 100,000 active-service and reserve military members.
While many veterans support the president and his military policies, the group says they are worried about the president’s decision to keep deferring service members who are transgender, disabled or have other mental health issues out of the program.
“The draft is a serious threat to our country and we need to be able to participate in it,” said Col. Daniel Mims, a member of the group.
“It’s a cruel system.
It’s a system that puts people in danger and it’s not fair to them.”
Mims said that while Trump’s comments on the draft have not affected his support among his fellow service members, he’s still concerned about the decision to delay the deferral.
“It’s very clear that he doesn.t see us, but that’s not good for the country or for the military, because we’re all going to be affected,” Mims said.
While the White House has been adamant that Trump’s remarks on the military are not discriminatory, the men say they are concerned about his plans to cut back on military spending.
“I just don’t understand how he can keep cutting the military’s budget,” said Lance Corporal Jason Echols, who served in Iraq.
The president’s rhetoric about the military has been mixed. “
I don’t know how he’s going to make up for the money he’s cut.”
The president’s rhetoric about the military has been mixed.
In a January speech, he said the military needs to be “flexible and adaptable” and that “the U. s Armed Forces need to adapt to whatever the world may throw at them.”
But as Trump has begun to soften his rhetoric, the president has also called for an end to the draft.
In September, Trump announced a budget that would eliminate the draft entirely, which would require Congress to act to reverse his decision.
“When it comes to the war on drugs, we have a war on the police, and it is time for us to end the war, and not continue to spend money on it,” Trump said.
“And I think the time for this is now.”