A new poll shows that a strong majority of U.S. veterans approve of how President Trump is handling the military, and even more veterans want President Trump to send troops to the U.S-Mexico border.
The Pew Research Center poll found that 57% of veterans surveyed approve of Trump’s performance as Commander in Chief of the U.S. military, while 58% want Trump to send the troops to the southern border. A giant schism was revealed between veterans who are Republicans (59%) and those who were Democrats (39%). 92% of Republican veterans approved of Trump as Commander in Chief; a paltry 6% of Democrats felt the same way.
Additionally, 89% of Republican veterans approved of sending the troops; only 12% of Democratic veterans agreed. A majority of veterans (53%) also approved of Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. Again, there was a partisan divide; 82% of Republican veterans approved; only 11% of Democratic veterans agreed.
Pew noted, “Fully 78% of Republican veterans say Trump respects the country’s veterans a great deal, compared with just 4% of Democratic veterans who say this. Instead, a majority of Democratic veterans say the president doesn’t respect veterans much (43%) or at all (43%).”
Another salient difference: 95% of Republican veterans thought military spending should either be increased or stay the same; only 63% of Democrat veterans agreed.
In April, one day after acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said he “would expect us to do more” on the southern border, considering “how much the situation there has deteriorated,” President Trump said, "I’m going to have to call up more military … Our military, don’t forget, can’t act like a military would act. Because if they got a little rough, everybody would go crazy … They have all these horrible laws that the Democrats won't change.” Military Times noted, “About 5,000 military personnel are currently deployed to the border mission. Of those, about 3,000 are active-duty troops and 2,100 are National Guard members. The number has fluctuated by several hundred individuals over the last six months.”
Later in April, the Pentagon acknowledged it was sending over 300 more troops to the southern border, as The Wall Street Journal reported:
The Pentagon has approved a request from the Department of Homeland Security for 320 additional U.S. troops at the southern border, and has approved expanded authorities that allow them to come into direct contact with migrants and asylum seekers, defense officials said. Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan, who signed the order Monday to send lawyers, cooks and drivers, also agreed to provide the waivers on troops’ interactions with migrants and asylum seekers.
The Hill reported on Monday that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had asked for 1,000 additional Texas National Guard troops "to provide supplemental holding and port of entry enforcement support" to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in the state.
Maj. Chris Mitchell, a Pentagon spokesperson, said, "Supplemental holding support is requested for CBP holding facilities located at Donna and Tornillo, Texas. These holding facilities house single adult migrants who have illegally entered the United States, been processed by CBP, and are awaiting transfer to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facilities. These holding facilities will be owned, operated, and managed by CBP."