Trump has offended two bereaved military families. That could be linked to his record for attacking minorities – or it may be because the military is so non-white
When Donald Trump was asked on Monday why he hadn’t commented on the deaths of four US soldiers in Niger on 4 October, the president said he would make some calls to the bereaved families.
The next day, Trump telephoned Myeshia Johnson, the widow of one of the soldiers. Johnson was on her way to the airport with Democratic congresswoman Frederica Wilson to meet her husband’s body when she received the call. Both women said Trump told Johnson that her husband “must have known what he signed up for”.
This is not the first time Trump has offended a grieving military family. During the 2016 election campaign, Trump criticized the Muslim family of Humayun Khan, an army lieutenant who was killed in Iraq in 2004. After Khizr Khan, the soldier’s father, spoke at the Democratic national convention, Trump implied that his wife who stood by his side had not been allowed to speak.
In both cases, the bereaved families were not white.
That could be a coincidence. Or it could be linked to Trump’s record of attacking minorities.
It could also be because the US military is disproportionately non-white. The Department of Defense publishes regular studies that compare the civilian labor force to the composition of the military.
Their 2014 report states: “Although racial minorities make up 23.4% of the civilian benchmark (the civilian labor force age 18 to 44), 32.9% of DoD’s enlisted forces in FY14 are racial minorities.”
Source: Population Representation in the Military Services
Year: 2014 Summary Report
The original dataset for this is incredibly detailed. I could have used 2015 data to show participation rates for each specific racial and ethnic group, by branch (army, navy, marine corps etc), by pay grade, by age, by state, by educational status and much, much more. But I chose to keep this image as clear and simple as possible.
If you you would like to find out statistics about a particular subject, or see the numbers visualized, please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
- This article was amended on 19 October 2017 to show in the illustration and headline that the numbers refer to enlisted rather than active personnel.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010