'Veterans for Impeachment' banners protest Trump during World Series game
By STEVE BEYNON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 28, 2019
Note: This article has been corrected.
WASHINGTON — Two large “Veterans for Impeachment” banners appeared Sunday behind home plate in near perfect view of television cameras as President Donald Trump attended Game Five of the World Series.
The banners were the work of Common Defense, a liberal veterans advocacy group that has fewer than a dozen staffers.
The banners appeared in the fifth inning after Trump had arrived in Nationals Park for the game which the Houston Astros won 7-1 against the Washington Nationals.
Trump also faced boos and a series of “lock him up” chants from the crowd when his presence was announced.
“We feel Trump goes against the foundation of American values and veterans,” said Naveed Shah, a member of Common Defense, a group with a 10-person staff and a network of donors and volunteers. “He has made cruelty a part of his administration. He should have the integrity to resign himself.”
Shah, an Army veteran of the Iraq War, displayed the banners with another member, Alan Pitts, an Army veteran wounded in Iraq in 2004.
But despite the views of Shah and Pitts, a majority of veterans surveyed recently said they support Trump, though some of them question his ability to make the right decision when using military force and nuclear weapons, according to a July report by the Pew Research Center.
The nonpartisan research group based in Washington found 57% of veterans largely approve of the way that Trump is handling the military. However, 45% say he doesn’t listen enough to military leaders. It’s unclear whether Trump’s withdrawal from Syria or the impeachment inquiry against him will impact his support among veterans.
The Pew report also found the support for Trump among veterans is mostly attributed to the military having a greater number of Republicans within its ranks
But Shah said liberals are underrepresented in the veteran community and the growing number of women and minorities in the ranks are moving the military more to the left politically.
“There is an opportunity for more liberal veterans to step up,” he said. “We feel this country is heading in the right direction.”
The Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion and Concerned Veterans for America declined to issue a response Monday to the protest.
Shah said they attempted to display the banners again in the seventh inning, but stadium security confiscated them.