Last year, renowned draft-dodger Donald Trump mocked Senator John McCain’s status as a war hero by stating that he likes heroes who weren’t captured.
This was Trump’s first major gaffe on the campaign trail as it occurred mere weeks after he announced his candidacy for President of the United States. Many pundits felt that those comments, about a man who spent years in a Vietnamese POW camp being tortured on a daily basis, would be the nail in his coffin. Especially since Trump himself had famously received numerous deferments to avoid service during the Vietnam War.
Well, as we all know by now, it wasn’t to be. Despite never really apologizing to McCain or vets in general for the remarks, Trump felt no damage from the comments. (It was also represented an early example of the gaslighting he’s regularly engaged in throughout the campaign.) In fact, he’s positioned himself as being good for vets and veteran issues, even when he’s had to be shamed into donating money he promised.
On Monday, Trump basically gave us a repeat of the McCain performance during a Q&A with the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins at a campaign event. After addressing veterans in Virginia, Trump was asked some questions related to veterans issues. At one point, someone wanted to know if Trump would allow more interaction with chaplains and instill a holistic approach when it came to returning soldiers dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.
According to Right Wing Watch, Trump gave the following response:
“When you talk about the mental health problems,” he said, “when people come back from war and combat and they see things that maybe a lot of the folks in the room have seen many times over and you’re strong and you can handle it, but a lot of people can’t handle it.”
Yup. A man who hasn’t served a day in his life, whose children never served and who has apparently avoided paying any taxes from roughly 20 years, is implying that soldiers who have seen the horrors of combat thousands of miles away aren’t strong enough to “handle it?” Is that what we’re getting here?
Of course, the Trump campaign was quick to try to tamp down this fire. Trump surrogate and military adviser Gen. Michael Flynn released the following statement blaming this all on the media because of course.
“The media continues to operate as the propaganda arm of Hillary Clinton as they took Mr. Trump’s words out of context in order to deceive voters and veterans—an appalling act that shows they are willing to go to any length to carry water for their candidate of choice,” Flynn said. “Mr. Trump was highlighting the challenges veterans face when returning home after serving their country. He has always respected the service and sacrifice of our military men and women—proposing reforms to Veteran Affairs to adequately address the various issues veterans face when they return home.”
Yeah. OK then.
Below is video of the exchange, courtesy of Right Wing Watch: