Donald Trump called American soldiers who gave their lives for freedom and who are now buried in France “losers” and “suckers.” The Atlantic broke the story but it has now been confirmed by numerous members of the military. The Washington Post and AP are also reporting that it’s true. Trump will, of course, deny the report, but that pits a man who lies regularly against people who have spent their lives serving their country.

The story lays out a devastating case against the president and builds on stories that have been widely reported before. Back in the Republican primary, Trump criticized John McCain for getting captured, saying he was “not a hero.” At a Memorial Day event in Arlington National Cemetery, he asked then-White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, whose son died in Afghanistan, “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?”

That latter story gets to the heart of who Donald Trump is. He’s a man who can’t believe anybody would do anything outside of self-interest. In essence, Donald Trump is John Galt.

But this feature isn’t just about Donald Trump. It explains why Republicans stay silent while Trump insults heroes and profits off his presidency. They agree with him in principle. The free marketeers who have driven much of the GOP’s economic philosophy for the past 40 years support radical self-interest and eschew the values of community and self-sacrifice.

They latched on to Ayn Rand’s view that if everyone pursues their own self-interest, our society will better off. That’s exactly what Trump does. He has no concept of the public good and neither does the GOP. Their view of the world has given us a president who cannot see the value of taking care of others. He pursues his own self-interest much like the Randian hero John Galt.

Trump and his tenure shows what Randian free market libertarianism looks like in practice. It’s incompatible with the concept of patriotism or community. The radical individualism embraced by the free marketeers runs counter to the concept of self-sacrifice necessary for a healthy society. Republicans are silent while Trump and his band of grifters plunder the country because they are acting in their self-interests. The GOP will ignore Trump’s misbehavior because tax cuts for the rich and deregulation are rooted in the same core value: self-serving personal gain.


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