Military members killed in the line of duty and their grieving families deserve respect. Using them as pawns in your petty political arguments is disgusting, offensive and insolent.

Can you all, please, just stop disrespecting fallen members of our military and their grieving families?

It starts with President Donald Trump, sure, but the trail of disgusting behavior runs through the anti-Trump Democratic throng, the left-wing mud-slingers and the right-wing cult-like driven Trump apologists on what seems to be a never-ending downward spiral.

None of the current controversy likely would be in the headlines this week if Trump, in his constant need to always tell the tallest lie in some misguided attempt to prop up his fragile ego, hadn’t answered a question about why he hadn’t said anything about the deaths of four Marines in an ambush Oct. 4 in Niger by saying former presidents -- both Democrat and Republican – didn’t contact the families of fallen service members. And even though he immediately tried to soften his lie with the statement -- “President Obama, I think, probably did sometimes and maybe sometimes he didn’t. I don’t know” -- the match had been lit.

Trump said he would call the families, and that he had written letters that would go out that day or the next.

Look, everyone knows that Trump has no ability to show empathy. The man who threatened to stop sending aid to Puerto Rico and held what amounted to a campaign rally in Texas after Hurricane Harvey also has a history of disparaging the military.

Remember when he told everyone that Sen. John McCain, a man who spent years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, was no war hero? “I like people who weren’t captured,” Trump said.

Remember when he disparaged the family of Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who was killed in the Iraq war, after Khan’s father spoke out against Trump at the Democratic National Convention?

How about as recently as last week when, during the taping of a Fox News program on a National Guard base, when he didn’t even recognize retreat, the daily ceremony in which the flag is lowered? He thought they were playing for his host’s TV ratings, and rather than stand and salute the flag, as is custom, he sat there and joked. So much for the fake angst displayed by Trump over athletes taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem. Nothing more than a ploy to rile up his rabid base.

So Trump has a track record of disrespecting the military, something most of his supporters seem to generally be OK with. But Democrats have at least an equal disrespect. Do you think that they did not know that Khizr Khan, the father of fallen Army Capt. Humayun Khan, would rail against Trump in his speech at the Democratic convention? They used the death of an American soldier to score political points.

And then this week, after Trump made a call to the widow of one of the soldiers killed in Niger, it was Florida Democratic U.S. Rep. Frederica S. Wilson who jumped into the limelight saying Trump had shown disrespect by telling the widow that her husband “must have known what he signed up for.”

Trump disputed the claim, of course, but others who heard the conversation agreed with the assessment that Trump was disrespectful. Anti-Trumpers are having a field day, and no doubt calls are being made from news outlets to the families of other service members who have died in service to their country to see what Trump may have said to them.

Just stop.

For Trump supporters: All you have to do is look at the record of what the president has said in the past to conclude that he is a bit of an oaf, more than a little self-centered, highly egotistical and that he has a very real problem expressing himself in a truthful way. He has insulted minorities, women, people with disabilities and just about everyone else, and he continues to do so unapologetically. That he would use the death of soldiers to try and take jabs at opponents or score political points is not only not surprising, it is pretty much what we have come to expect from this man.

For Democrats and Trump opponents: All you have to do is look at the record of what the president has said in the past to conclude that he is a bit of an oaf, more than a little self-centered, highly egotistical and that he has a very real problem expressing himself in a truthful way. He has insulted minorities, women, people with disabilities and just about everyone else, and he continues to do so unapologetically. That he would use the death of soldiers to try and take jabs at opponents or score political points is not only not surprising, it is pretty much what we have come to expect from this man. The fact that you would also use the deaths of military members to point out his obvious shortfalls puts you squarely on the same low ground as the person you are condemning.

Military members killed in the line of duty and their grieving families deserve respect. Using them as pawns in your petty political arguments is disgusting, offensive and insolent. So please, for once show a little decency and just stop.

Jim Lee is editor for Gatehouse Media Delaware. Email him at jim.lee@doverpost.com.