Veterans line up in stand against Trump

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In the midst of a historically polarizing presidential administration, U.S. Marine Corps veteran and North Kingstown native Alexander McCoy has firmly chosen his side.

McCoy is one of the founders of Common Defense, a civic engagement organization born in the run-up to the 2016 election of Donald Trump out of like-minded U.S. military veterans and their families who shared the same core belief – that Trump did not represent, and continues to not represent, the American values that they fought for as laid out within the United States Constitution.

“People were so frustrated with the status quo that they voted for change, they were voting to flip the table and voting to send a message. I can understand that. I think there is truth in the frustration that so many of us feel,” McCoy said recently in a meeting held Friday at U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin’s headquarters in Warwick.

“But Donald Trump is not our champion,” he continued. “He's not the champion of working people, he's not the champion of regular veterans. He's in it for himself and he's in it for his billionaire friends in Mar-a-Lago and he's in it for Vladimir Putin and he's in it for all the other dictators that he likes and admires so much. That's what I would say to people who are still allowing this president to exploit them.”

Since beginning in 2016, Common Defense now boasts a list of 150,000 supporters across all 50 states, including 780 in Rhode Island. The group seeks to end “forever wars,” such as the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, and “elect a diverse new generation of progressive leaders and speak out on issues that affect our communities.”

Even further, Common Defense seeks to promote the impeachment of Trump, citing concerns of colluding with foreign governments, obstructing justice during the investigation into that collusion, among other societal problems that they believe have become exacerbated under the Trump administration, such as increasing racial and religious tensions.

“We’re trying to stand up for the values that we believe the Constitution represents,” McCoy explained on Monday during a phone interview. “Liberty and justice truly being for all, defending our community, and we think this president is bad news. He’s corrupt, he’s selling us out, he’s putting the VA under the control of a bunch of billionaires in Mar-a-Lago, he’s attacking our neighbors, he’s fear mongering about people because of the color of their skin and their religion. He’s doing these things that are fundamentally un-American.”

McCoy praised Langevin for declaring his support to start the impeachment process in the House, regardless of whether the measure would actually result in an impeachment of the president or not.

“We’re not trying to act like pundits,” he said. “I don’t care what the Senate will do. I care that there is a vote and every elected member of our government needs to vote and take a stand, and history will show where you stood. I think that’s important.”

McCoy joined the Marines in 2008 at 19 years old and served until 2013 as an embassy guard in Saudi Arabia, Honduras and Germany. He was honorably discharged as a sergeant. Now 31 years old, he is working towards a degree in political science from Columbia University in New York.

On Friday at Langevin’s office, McCoy was with fellow veterans Patrick Reay and Jason Ayotte. Reay, originally from Idaho, served aboard the U.S.S. Boston from 1980 to 1986 during the Cold War and relocated to Groton, Conn. before joining Common Defense.

“I still remember when Russia was our enemy, and I’m not real happy with Trump’s response to Putin,” he said. Reay voted Republican his whole life until 2016, when Trump made disparaging comments about the late Sen. John McCain, who famously survived being captured during the Vietnam War. “I couldn’t even vote this last election. Trump lost me at McCain. That was it, I was done with him.”

McCoy, too, pegged Trump’s actions regarding military veterans as self-serving and dishonorable to those who have put their lives on the line in service of their country.

“He wears his little flight suit and acts like he served when he didn’t. He constantly is exploiting the symbols of service and the flag and wrapping his ideas in patriotism to make them seem normal and I find that obscenely abnormal and fascist, frankly,” he said. “He’s using active duty troops as a backdrop … He just does not understand anything about the military, nor is he really interested in it other than in the way that he can use it to somehow make himself the arbiter of what is and isn’t American and what is and isn’t patriotic.”

Part of Common Defense’s mission is to train veterans on how to better engage with politicians to enact meaningful policy changes and elect leaders that share their distaste for Trump’s brand of leadership. At the same time, McCoy makes sure to point out that it is important to have meaningful dialogues with people about policy, even if they don’t fully agree with their stance on Trump.

“I think there is room for reasonable disagreement on policy,” he said, adding that “compromise lives” in the areas where people on either side can agree – areas such as money having too much influence over policy and the growing feeling of disenfranchisement.

“It’s talking to people who have been alienated by the system entirely,” he said.

But he also believes that the group’s main aversions to Trump surpass partisan politics.

“What Trump does is systematically try to define his supporters as the only ones who own the title of being American,” he said. “He’s drawing a divide between his people and everyone else as the ‘other,’ and I think that’s dangerous for democracy and the military and the country.”

You can learn more about Common Defense at CommonDefense.us.

Comments

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Warwick_Resident1998

I don't believe any of these three POG's understand how much better our military has become since President Trump has become Commander in Chief.

Thursday, August 29
scot63

What a shame that these 3 does not appreciate how much stronger our military is in the last 4 years.

we was lucky that the ISLAMIC flag is not flying in our country after 8 years of OBAMA!!!

The only impeachment that should happen is the 4 clowns in WASHINGTON from RI.

Thursday, August 29
BEN DOVER

Thank you for your service.. You are entitled to your opinions but not your own facts. I will speak of behalf of members of my own family who also served, both of them, beginning in 2000. Combined they had 7 combat tours between Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria serving in the 10th Mountain Division as well as special operations. Both have categorically told me how things have improved in the last 3 years as opposed to earlier...One of the biggest problems they faced with previous administrations was mission creep and micro-management. Based on their vast combat experience, conversations with friends and contemporaries, ( former military) and a keen eye for observation, I disagree with much of your assessments. Sitting in a politicians office does not bolster your cause, heading into an election year, IMHO.

Thursday, August 29
justanidiot

trump has maid amerika grape agin

Thursday, August 29
Cat

We are all entitled to our opinion. Whether Trump gets elected to a second term or not, I will never agree that he is making America great again. If that is how he defines great, I don't want to be part of it.

Thursday, August 29
Roger

Trump is the biggest bafoon this country has ever seen. Tell me one thing JUST ONE, that has made the country better. Wall? Nope. Trade? Nope, economy? I’m making and taking home less. Fathers are getting killed economically. Makes me sick to think we elected this idiot. Bought and paid for by the Kremlin.

Thursday, August 29
Roger

“Farmers” not fathers sorry.

Thursday, August 29
TiredTaxpayer

Sub-headline of this article should be "Democrat voters who are regurgitating talking points and conspiracy theories from the DNC and MSNBC who happen to be veterans. ". Nothing new here. Same old angry Democrat voters who can't believe their candidate didn't win in 2016 and demand a do over. Yawn. Your only chance of getting the President is to win in 2020. With the current crop of Democrat candidates for president you may want to prepare yourselves for another 4 years of a Trump administration.

Thursday, August 29
Robert

Live in Los Angeles and you’ll understand the danger this country is facing. It has millions of Latinos who have been given drivers licenses and who are all on welfare and who hate America and Americans. It’s very scary there and Rhode Islanders are in the dark. I

Friday, August 30
Robert

The enemy isn’t Trump, it’s the real powers that be who are allowing all this insane illegal immigration. And say that you want them jailed or deported and you are a racist. Almost half this nation is already gone.

Friday, August 30
Louise

This. Is. What. Propaganda. Looks. Like.

The first thing I took away from this article was it didn't say anything. Yes, it strung words together such as "training veterans to better engage with politicians to enact meaningful policy changes and elect leaders that share their distaste for Trumps brand of leadership." Then there was no mention of what policies they want to change ... anywhere ... in the article. The rest of the article is straight out of George Soro's Progressive left of left organization Moveon.org.

I'm disappointed in the Beacon. I guess the 25 people that showed up for Langevins Town Hall last night wasn't enough to generate an article.

Friday, August 30
Cat2222

TiredTaxpayer - We aren't sore losers about 2016. We are disgusted by the way Trump has behaved as POTUS. The way he speaks, the lies he tells, the way he treats people (both average and world leaders). It is about the man and his policies. Most of the country can put the past in the review view mirror. My problem is you thinking the reason why we don't like Trump is because he isn't a democrat. You couldn't be further from the truth. The man has always been a greasy, slimy sleazeball. Being in the WH didn't change that fact one bit.

Friday, August 30
scot63

Again the democrats wont admit that this country's economy and unemployment is the best it has been ever!!!

But then again i'm not surprised as the all support ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION!!!! The dems have a double standard agree with me or you are a RACIST!!!! get the 4 clowns that represent RI out!!!! They are not working for our state there only concern is getting rich!! GO IN BROKE COME OUT MULTI MILLIONAIRES!!!

Friday, August 30
justanidiot

if deez veterans were half as smart as da president, day wood hab stayed home wit bone spurs

Friday, August 30
Honestinfo

Where is the great Robbie Robbie Robbie on this issue. Oh I know FBI Headquarters.

Friday, August 30
OldButInformed

So, three guys claiming to be veterans sitting in Jim Langevin’s office don’t like Donald Trump? What a shocker! Here’s the ugly truth people, in 2016 Trump won the veteran’s vote by two to one and he won the active duty military vote by an even larger margin. This article is misleading, dishonest, and embarrassingly sophomoric. I have to hope that the Beacon can do much better than this type of blindly partisan trash.

Friday, August 30
TiredTaxpayer

Cat2222-. Your argument on why you don't like the President proves my point. He's mean, he treats people badly, he's a slimeball. All you as well as the individuals in this article have for an argument against this president is name calling and how the President makes you feel. These are not and never will be grounds to impeach a president. Which is what Democrats and the Democratic party have been trying to do since the day after he was inaugurated. Again, add in the shock the Democrats have been in since November 2016 after the failure of a flawed candidate in Hillary Clinton and we have the current climate. A climate of individuals like yourself and those in this article looking for excuses to get rid of the President. As of now that strategy looks to be failing.

Saturday, August 31
Rick J

Just like Congressman Langevin, the Vets representing Common Defense have read the Mueller Report. Worn-out conservatives that have never served, whine and complain anytime anyone complains about forrest drumph.

Separatism and Isolationism have caused millions to lose their lives in the past. President Putin is puppeteering successfully installing someone so weak into the presidency. Destroying our democracy and weakening our economy was the reason they rigged our election in 2016 and will again in 2020. Common Defense = Common Sense.

A gift for my conservative friends, take some time to see the real truth, not another alternative one.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/04/18/us/politics/mueller-report-document.html#g-page-1

Sunday, September 1
BEN DOVER

Memo to ricky j: HUH? You are kidding, right? A New York Times link, those paragons of virtue and truthfulness, you are making a joke? I'm sorry, but the rest of your screed is an indcipherable embarrassment of disjointed thoughts...Did you type this while drinking? Never wise. Have a fine day.

Sunday, September 1
OldButInformed

“rick j”: You’re assuming that those taking issue with this article are conservative and haven’t served. You are in no position to know either thing. The Mueller Report is a 35 million dollar political hit piece by career bureaucrats who deeply resent a non-politician ascending to the Presidency who threatens their decades long choke-hold on our government. You my wish to ask how Federal employees got away with using their official office to take part in partisan political activities during a political campaign.

Monday, September 2
John Stark

OK, I grant you that unemployment is at all-time lows. And yes, the S&P 500 remains near it's all-time high. And sure, tax rates are lower, and likely to go even lower with indexing of capital gains. OK, due to an absence of mission-creep and a change in rules of engagement, I concede that our military is demonstrably stronger. And sure, consumer confidence is at an all-time high, and corporate earnings continue to be strong. 150 miles of a border fence have been built over objections from those who dislike borders. And two constructionist judges have been added to the supreme court. All that said, people just don't understand: Trump is ICKY!!

Tuesday, September 3
Cat2222

TiredTaxpayer,

It is only name calling if you don't have evidence to back it up as fact. There is overwhelming evidence that Donald Trump is not a moral, ethical, selfless leader. If you think we should look away because the unemployment rate is down then I am afraid I can't do that and still look in the mirror. What is done in private will be manifested in public. Dear Lord people, look what he does in PUBLIC! The man lied and doubled down on a stupid lie about Dorian and the State of Alabama!!!! That is not someone I will support. I would rather go down in history as being appalled by his behavior than complicit. Call me young, stupid and naive but I still think being a person of high moral standard is important.

Thursday, September 5
Robert

And who do these heroic veterans support? Obama? A guy who’s married to a tranny named Michael? I happened to look to see if it was legal to own a Taser in RI for self defense. I found out only Rhode Island and Hawaii don’t allow Tasers. Doesn’t that figure! Of course the 2nd amendment has also been negated by Rhode Island’s communist leaders. Why don’t these stupid vets protest that our constitutional rights are gone in Rhode Island?

Tuesday, September 10