President Trump is sending 5,200 armed troops to the southern border with Mexico, days before the midterm elections. The move comes as the president points to a group of migrants fleeing Central America as a threat to national security. Trump has characterized the “caravan” of migrants as invading the country. The border deployment is equal in number to the number of troops currently stationed in Iraq. In Syria, there are only 2,000 American troops.
The migrants are thousands of miles from the border and will not arrive until long after the midterms. That timing is unfortunate for the president’s politics. Despite the fact that the migrants are far from the US, and pose no threat, they are desperate unarmed people seeking refuge, the president has deployed armed troops to the border.
American veterans have expressed their fury with the president’s political ploy. Will Fischer is a Marine who now works with the group VoteVets. He said of the president’s troop deployment, “Donald Trump thinks unarmed people who are fleeing horrors and are still 1,000 miles away are a national security threat a week before election day?” He went on, “I don’t think so. It’s a political ploy to blow upon the embers of racism and nativism, and he is using the military again as a political prop to advance his own agenda.”
Another military official said, “As somebody that deployed and said goodbye to my wife and kids multiple times, you want to be confident about the mission.” The official added, “Sending military troops to the border to defend against unarmed civilians is just nonsense.”
Kelly Magsamen served as a National Security Council official under both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama. Magsamen said, “This is a craven political stunt by President Trump ahead of the US midterms, and a cynical capitulation by a secretary of defense who has prided himself on improving the readiness, focus and lethality of the US armed forces.”