President Trump cut a rally in New Hampshire short and joined Vice President Mike Pence to fly unannounced to Dover Air Force Base, paying their respects to two soldiers killed in Afghanistan.
National security adviser Robert O’Brien told reporters aboard Air Force One that the President quickly wrapped up his rally speech so he could visit the families of the fallen 28-year-old soldiers.
“These were fallen heroes and we were close by and the president wrapped his rally early so he could come,” O’Brien stated.
President Trump and Pence stood in the rain as two flag-draped transfer cases containing the remains of U.S. Army SFC Antonio Rodriguez and U.S. Army Javier Gutierrez were transported off a cargo plane by six military members wearing white gloves.
— ABC News (@ABC) February 11, 2020
The President rightly placed the importance of the transfer ceremony above that of his campaign rally out of respect.
“These are terrible sacrifices for the families. And these guys are heroes, they’re real warriors and did a great job for the American people,” O’Brien said according to Fox News.
“These are tough times. It’s tough for the president but he thinks it’s important to be there for the families and recognize them.”
President Trump stood silently and saluted while Vice President Pence placed his hand over his heart as the remains of Rodriguez and Gutierrez were carried to a transport vehicle.
The two soldiers were killed when an individual dressed in an Afghan army uniform opened fire with a machine gun on Saturday. Six other American service members were wounded in the attack.
HONORING FALLEN HEROES: President Trump and Vice President Pence stood in silence at Dover Air Force Base to await the return of two fallen Special Forces soldiers, Sgt. Javier Gutierrez and Sgt. Antonio Rodriguez, who were killed in Afghanistan over the weekend. 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/GJkG3CnYL5
— FOX 10 Phoenix (@FOX10Phoenix) February 11, 2020
Americans Are Not Law Enforcement For Other Nations
In his State of the Union Address last week, President Trump referenced peace talks in Afghanistan, insisting U.S. soldiers were not meant to serve as “law enforcement agencies” for other nations.
In Afghanistan, the determination and valor of our warfighters has allowed us to make tremendous progress, and peace talks are now underway. I am not looking to kill hundreds of thousands of people in Afghanistan, many of them totally innocent. It is also not our function to serve other nations as law enforcement agencies. These are warfighters that we have — the best in the world — and they either want to fight to win or not fight at all. We are working to finally end America’s longest war and bring our troops back home.
It’s clear that the loss of American lives in Afghanistan is weighing heavily on President Trump’s mind.
CNN’s Chris Cuomo recently claimed without evidence that the President sleeps well at night, with no concern whatsoever for the lives of American soldiers lost in Afghanistan.
“Imagine sleeping at night or sleeping easily – nothing keeping you up – when people are dying when they shouldn’t,” Cuomo said prior to mentioning a pair of American paratroopers killed in combat in Afghanistan.
Trump and Pence’s presence in Dover marks the first time both the president and vice president have attended a dignified transfer ceremony since 2009.
After paying their respects, Trump tweeted: “Just returned to White House from Dover. Very sad!”