- Marine veteran and Gold Star widow Kait Wyatt, whose husband Derek was killed in combat, told Insider Wednesday that it is important that the commander-in-chief of the armed forces understand military service and sacrifice.
- She said that veterans "put their lives on the line and soak up the negativity that is in our world so that they can shield the people who need it the most."
- Wyatt said that President Donald Trump has not demonstrated an understanding of that service while President-elect Joe Biden, a Blue Star family member, likely has a better grasp of what that means.
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A Marine Corps veteran and Gold Star widow stressed to Insider the importance of having a commander-in-chief that understands military service and sacrifice in an interview Wednesday.
Kait Wyatt and her husband Derek were in the Marines together, and during their service, Derek made the ultimate sacrifice. He was killed in combat in Afghanistan in 2010.
"It has been 10 years, and we miss him every day," Wyatt said, "I don't think that'll ever change."
Reflecting on Veteran's Day, Wyatt told Insider that it is "not only honoring the sacrifice of the veteran but also bringing light to the struggle that it is to be in the military."
She characterized veterans, as well as people like first responders, as those that "put their lives on the line and soak up the negativity that is in our world so that they can shield the people who need it the most." Wyatt argued that a president should have some understanding of what that service and sacrifice means.
"Donald Trump's not that person," she said, adding that on the far end of the sliding scale of selfishness, "there's Donald Trump, where the only thing that matters is Donald Trump."
During his presidency, Trump, who has suggested he would have made a good general but does not actually have military experience, has made a number of disparaging remarks about veterans and military families, such as late Arizona Sen. John McCain or Gold Star father Khizr Khan, among others.
There are also reports that Trump called troops killed in combat "losers" and "suckers," as well as reports that he questioned a fallen Marine's service, telling the father at his son's grave in Arlington: "I don't get it."
In an interview with CNN in September, Wyatt expressed anger and frustration after seeing a photo of Trump standing at her husband's grave at Arlington. "You can't stand on the graves of better men who fought and died for this country while you rip apart that country with your incompetence and unqualified presence within a position of leadership," she told CNN.
Trump visited Arlington National Cemetery again Wednesday.
Talking to Insider Wednesday, Wyatt expressed her support for President-elect Joe Biden, who was recently projected the winner of the presidential election, though Trump is disputing the results.
He has not served in the military either, but he is a Blue Star family member. His son Beau Biden served as a member of the National Guard and deployed to Iraq. Beau died of brain cancer in 2015.
"Family members of those who are serving are an integral part of the military," she said. "Although President-elect Joe Biden has never served in the military, the fact that his son did is incredibly important because at least then he understands."
She explained that as a veteran, this is "very important" to her. "Instead of saying, 'Imagine it was your son,' he knows because it was his son," Wyatt said. "He knows the cost. He understands the fear that every parent has when their child says I'm joining the military."
The president-elect tweeted to veterans Wednesday that he will be a president "who respects your sacrifice, understands your service, and will never betray the values you fought so bravely to defend."
Further voicing her support for political change in the US, Wyatt said: "I have worked too hard and sacrificed too much. I put my blood, sweat, and tears into this country, and I refuse to let it die."
"I am in it," she continued, "and I'm hoping that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are both in it as much as I am because that's the best thing that a veteran can ask of a president and a vice-president."
She expressed hope that the new leadership will put effort into fixing the institutional support systems that are supposed to be in place for veterans to ensure that the country has the back of those who protect and defend it, among other broken systems.
"What I'm asking for and what veterans should be asking of our government and of our leaders is to put in your all." Wyatt added. "If you're not putting in your all, then you shouldn't be in office."
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