When he deploys military personnel and uses tear gas to clear his way for a crude photo op, when he talks loosely about “my generals” and “my military,” when he treats weapons of war as political props in a July Fourth parade, he’s using our nation’s armed services to boost his own ego. When Trump embraces a convicted war criminal rejected by those who served alongside him, he is undermining both the military justice system and the good order and discipline that undergird our military’s strength.

A commander in chief who cares nothing about fundamental decency damages troop morale and, with it, troop readiness. When service members go into combat, they need to know that those to their left and their right will never leave them behind. That no matter what, their buddies will get them out, if only to bring their body home to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. If the nation’s so-called leader regards these heroes as “suckers” or “losers,” he endangers every man and woman in uniform—and our nation’s safety right along with them.