Commentary: According to the Government Accountability Office, President Trump’s early trips to Mar-a-Lago cost 13.8 million dollars. The Defense Department and Homeland Security incurred a majority of those costs, approximately 8.5 and 5.1 million respectfully.
Meanwhile, the nation of Yemen is embroiled in a ghastly war, one that has claimed the lives of at least 85,000 children. As Tamer Kirolos, Save the Children's country director in Yemen, said in a statement: “For every child killed by bombs and bullets, dozens are starving to death-and it’s entirely preventable...Children who die in this way suffer immensely. As their vital organ functions slow down and eventually stop."
In 2017-18, Doctors Without Borders treated 101, 500 patients in Yemen for cholera. Those are just the patients treated. The actual deaths from cholera are reaching near unspeakable levels of human suffering.
In his SOTU, Trump addressed everything from manufacturing jobs to tax codes to NASA missions to prison reform to infrastructure to partisan politics to NATO and ISIS. But one topic the president totally ignored was Yemen. On his watch, an entire generation of children are at risk of starving to death. Yet he does nothing.
Or should I say, he is doing far too much to perpetuate the crisis.
Chris Murphy, a Democrat senator from Connecticut, has used his platform to call attention to the Trump administration's complicity in this crime against humanity. In a recent article, he has written: "For three years, the United States has supported a coalition led by Saudi Arabia that is waging war inside Yemen, trying to oust a rebel government made up of members of the Houthi tribe. Our role in the coalition is significant -- we sell bombs and weapons to the Saudis, we help them pick targets inside Yemen, and until recently, we refueled their planes in the sky. To anyone paying attention, it's clear that the United States is engaged in a war in Yemen. And yet this war has not been authorized or debated by Congress. Our involvement started quietly under President Barack Obama, and now President Donald Trump has increased our participation. And it's not as if our participation in the Yemen conflict hasn't come with serious consequences. Yemen has become a hell on earth for the civilians caught within its borders. More than 10,000 innocents have been killed in the Saudi-led bombing campaign since the beginning of the civil war. Targets have included schools, hospitals, weddings, a funeral party and recently a school bus carrying 38 children to a field trip."
Tragically, Trump’s unassailable relationship with the Kingdom provides little hope for those starving children. Instead of trying to stop the carnage by ceasing arms sales to Saudi Arabia and using his political capital on the international stage to break the humanitarian assistance blockade, the president remains silent. Worse than that, as if to accentuate his apathy, he spends millions on vacations while babies starve to death.
And for what? To have a party? To show off to his friends? To do a little “executive time?”
Perhaps my father said it best, “What is it about our human condition that fails to see children as our most precious assets? There is no greater crime against humanity, indeed against all of creation, than the disrespect of the next generation of citizens in such brutal fashion."