Would you believe that Donald Trump doesn’t know one of the most famous lines in Apocalypse Now? Of course you would! He doesn’t know lots of things, and he doesn’t know the extent of what he does not know. He is the perfect example of the Dunning-Kruger effect, and it ended up offending the veterans he claims to love at a meeting last year.
The Daily Beast reports that a meeting with various veteran organizations in the Roosevelt Room on March 17, 2017, Trump got into a spat with vets over a line in Apocalypse Now. During the meeting, Rick Weidman, co-founder of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), brought up Agent Orange, a notorious component of herbicidal warfare and dangerous to those who were exposed to it. Weidman wanted to permit access to those who were exposed to Agent Orange. Trump, after saying, “That’s taken care of,” (it wasn’t), proceeded to go off on a tangent and asked if Agent Orange was “that stuff from that movie.”
It eventually became clear that he was talking about the scene in Apocalypse Now that’s set to “Ride of the Valkyries”. Matters went further downhill from there:
Source present at the time tell The Daily Beast that multiple people—including Vietnam War veterans—chimed in to inform the president that the Apocalypse Now set piece he was talking about showcased the U.S. military using napalm, not Agent Orange.
Trump refused to accept that he was mistaken and proceeded to say things like, “no, I think it’s that stuff from that movie.”
One clue belying the president’s insistence is that the famous Robert Duvall line from the scene in Apocalypse Now, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning,” is not “I love the smell of Agent Orange in the morning.”
He then went around the room polling attendees about if it was, in fact, napalm or Agent Orange in the famous scene from “that movie,” as the gathering—organized to focus on important, sometimes life-or-death issues for veterans—descended into a pointless debate over Apocalypse Now that the president simply would not concede, despite all the available evidence.
And just in case you think, for some reason, “Maybe Trump was right,” here’s the clip:
The larger issue isn’t that Trump got a movie wrong, but his insistence on being wrong distracted from incredibly important issues that directly affect the veterans Trump claims to love. He’s a liar, a fool, and we’ll all suffer because of it. The horror, the horror…