Home » Another Republican congratulates U.S. military using photo of a foreign ship. It’s a pattern

Another Republican congratulates U.S. military using photo of a foreign ship. It’s a pattern

Republicans sure do love the military! Or at least say they do—right up to the point where they’re asked to take care of our veterans’ health and well-being. Then they’re suddenly like Donald Trump and his cavalcade of coffee boys. Toxic burn pit victims? Who? Never heard of them! 

In fact, Republicans’ fervid, leg-humping embrace of our military is so clearly performative, they can’t even bother to check whether it’s our military they’re praising or, say, Indonesia’s. But hey, what’s the difference, really? Republicans don’t want to pay for Indonesian soldiers’ health care, either. Or much of anyone else’s, for that matter. After all, in their Elysian, health care-free coup-topia, even Lord Fetus gets the shaft

In what is now a well-established pattern, Rep. Ryan Zinke—the scandal-tainted former Trump administration interior secretary and ex-Navy SEAL—shared a tweet on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, that was clearly meant to wish the U.S. Navy a happy birthday. And it did. Sort of.

RELATED STORY: Tuberville’s unending military holds demand Senate process reform


Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT), whose political identity is closely associated with his background as a Navy SEAL, recently extended birthday wishes to the U.S. Navy on social media — using what appears to be an image of an Indonesian warship.

In a birthday message on X, formerly known as Twitter, a transparent silhouette of the word “NAVY” was overlaid on the ship. …

In the graphic, the numbers “3” and “5” are visible on the ship as is an anti-aircraft radar tower. These and other elements of the photo seem to match a Canva image of a ship with the number “358,” an anti-aircraft radar tower and an Indonesian flag.

Good God, how hard is it to find a photo of a U.S. Navy warship? Our annual military budget is now north of $800 billion. Surely we have a frigate or two that doesn’t look like gently polished turd.

RawStory recently consulted Lyle Goldstein, a visiting professor at Brown University who spent 20 years teaching at the U.S. Naval War College, and he agreed that that ain’t no American ship. “I think you are correct,” Goldstein told RawStory. “I’m not aware of any [U.S. Navy] ship class of that type. It looks to be a light frigate or corvette. In that category, we’ve developed the Littoral Combat Ship, which looks very different.”

Needless to say, if a Democrat did this, Sean Hannity would dispatch a fleet of news helicopters worthy of “Apocalypse Now,” and Marjorie Taylor Greene would be all over him like a face-hugging alien on a sketchy batch of bathtub mescaline.

This kind of thing is hardly new for Republicans, though. For instance, a 2020 digital ad run by the Trump Make America Great Again Committee exhorted Americans to “support our troops,” presumably by saluting the stock photo of Russian-made fighter jets and Russian models dressed as soldiers” that were featured in the spot. 

Last April, GOP Senate candidate Joe O’Dea of Colorado ran a pro-military campaign ad that included footage of several planes flying in formation. Unfortunately for O’Dea, they were Russian planes. (He lost his Senate bid.)

Meanwhile, exactly four years before Zinke wished our Navy a happy birthday with a pic of an Indonesian ship, GOP Rep. Brian Mast of Florida did the same thing, but with a photo of a Russian battlecruiser. Again, this is an easy mistake to avoid, but they keep making it. It would be like wishing Trump a happy birthday alongside a photo of Vladimir Putin. Which, to be fair, would make a lot more sense than what Republicans keep doing with these planes and ships.

And just last month, GOP Rep. Anna Paulina Luna of Florida, an Air Force veteran, celebrated the Air Force’s birthday with a photo of several Russian MiG-29s flying in formation. She later deleted the post after RawStory called her out on it.

“This post was published without approval from me as the comms director, via a junior staffer,” Edie Heipel, Luna’s communications director, later told RawStory in an email. “Rep. Luna is a U.S. Air Force veteran who worked in airfield management and her husband is a Bronze Star/Purple Heart Combat Controller. To suggest she doesn’t know the difference between American and Russian fighter jets is asinine.”

Well, okay, but it’s a pretty big mistake, and one American lawmakers would be wise to avoid—especially since there are so many Putin fanboys and girls in Congress these days. Including, it would appear, Luna herself. After all, she tweeted this nonsense just two days before making her little MiG-stake:

Whether these are honest mistakes or not, wholeheartedly supporting Putin’s ongoing war on democracy surely isn’t one. Luna may be able to tell the difference between a MiG-29 and an F-18, but that doesn’t mean she fully grasps the difference between an autocracy and a liberal democracy. And, sadly, she’s by no means alone these days.

RELATED STORY: Buttigieg condemns Trump for Milley comments and ‘lifelong pattern’ of disrespect for US military

Check out Aldous J. Pennyfarthing’s four-volume Trump-trashing compendium, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Or, if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE.

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October 2023