Donald Trump — who took advantage of four Vietnam draft deferments (one for heel spurs) — tried to put his most recent very bad week behind him by speaking at a Retired American Warriors PAC gathering in Virginia. In doing so, he fielded a question about whether, as president, he would support a holistic approach to treating soldiers who suffer from mental health issues after returning from combat. In response, Trump decided to give his thoughts on what type of soldier falls prey to post traumatic stress disorder:
“When you talk about the mental health problems, 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.”
Trump added that those soldiers who are not “strong” cannot handle the “horror stories” they witness, but he also went on to describe how he wants to improve mental health care for veterans and cites the 22 suicides per day statistic. If you read the full context of his quote, Trump actually makes some sense when he discusses how veterans have been left behind in terms of mental and physical health care of their ailments.
However, folks don’t soon forget that Trump not only holds no military experience (and lacks perspective), but has also attacked war hero John McCain because, in his words, “I like people who weren’t captured.” Here, his disparaging soundbite and implication that some soldiers are too weak to resist PTSD have overridden the rest of his answer. Trump’s team is running out of time to clear up these gaffes.