Former Marine Walks Out of Trump's State of the Union Address, Calls President a 'Draft Dodger'

A former Marine and current Democratic congressman was among those who walked out of President Donald Trump's tense State of the Union address on Tuesday, afterwards accusing the commander-in-chief of neglecting America's military and maligning its service members.

Seth Moulton, a representative from Massachusetts, explained on Twitter that he walked out of the president's annual speech to Congress when Trump began talking about his "record-breaking" investments and support of the U.S. military.

Moulton, who led one of the first infantry platoons into Baghdad during the 2003 Iraq War, posted on Twitter listing multiple grievances with Trump's conduct towards the military.

"I left the #SOTU after Trump—a draft dodger who has mocked Sen. John McCain, Gold Star families, and soldiers with traumatic brain injury—started talking about the good he has done for our military," Moulton wrote.

The president has cast himself as a staunch ally of the U.S. military, and regularly lauds the rise in military spending that has occurred under his stewardship.

During Tuesday's address, Trump said his administration had "invested a record-breaking $2.2 trillion in the United States military," which earned him a standing ovation from the Republican side of the hall, plus some members on the Democratic side.

But Trump—who avoided the military draft five times during the Vietnam War, four because he was still in education and one for purported bone spurs in his feet—has attacked veterans and military families when they stand against him. His treatment of late Sen. John McCain is perhaps the most well-known example.

While serving as a Navy pilot in the Vietnam War, McCain's plane was shot down and he was captured. He was imprisoned for five and a half years, refusing early release—despite torture—as he did not want to leave without his fellow captives.

While on the campaign trail in 2015, Trump said McCain was "not a war hero," adding, "He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured."

The president consistently attacked McCain throughout his campaign and into his presidency, even continuing his criticism of the Arizona senator after his death.

Trump also attacked a Gold Star family while on the campaign trail—Khizr and Ghazala Khan, whose son Captain Humayun Khan was killed in 2004 in Iraq after stepping forward to engage a suicide car bomber.

The president attacked the bereaved parents after they spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, criticizing Trump's divisive rhetoric.

Ghazala Khan said she stood silent while Khizr Khan gave the address because she was unsure she could keep her composure when talking about her son.

But Trump later suggested she did not speak because of traditional gender roles in Islamic families. "If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say," he said. "She probably—maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say. You tell me."

The president also came under fire for insensitivity towards the widow of Sergeant La David Johnson, who was killed in Niger in 2017. After his death, Trump spoke with Myeshia Johnson by phone, telling her that her husband "knew what he signed up for, but it hurts anyways."

More recently, the president was dismissive of the injuries sustained by American troops in an Iranian ballistic missile attack on Iraqi military bases, launched in retaliation for the assassination of Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani in early January.

At least 64 troops are now being treated for traumatic brain injury, caused by the concussive shock waves of the exploding missiles. But the president downplayed the severity of the incident, describing the injuries as "headaches" and adding, "I don't consider them very serious injuries, relative to other injuries that I've seen."

Donald Trump, Seth Moulton, SOTU, US military
President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives on February 04, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Mario Tama/Getty Images/Getty

Correction 2/5/2020, 8:05 a.m. ET: This article has been corrected to note that Seth Moulton led a platoon, not a battalion, into Baghdad in 2003.