While speaking to a group of retired veterans in Virginia on Monday, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump suggested that combat veterans who come back home suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder are mentally weak.
Asked by a member of the audience about the suicide epidemic among veterans and whether he would champion faith-based counseling to treat PTSD, Trump responded affirmatively before dividing veterans into those who can handle the horrors of war and those who can’t.
“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 this room have seen many times over and you’re strong and you can handle it, but a lot of people can’t handle it, and they see horror stories, they see events that you couldn’t see in a movie,” Trump said, as quoted by Politico.
Trump went on to call mental health for veterans one of the “least addressed” issues, and said he would address “the whole mental health issue” if elected president.
The GOP nominee, who once infamously called the threat of sexually transmitted infections his “personal Vietnam,” has never served in the military. In the 1960s, he received four draft deferments for being a student and then a medical deferment for a foot issue in 1968.
The remarks are the latest in Trump’s string of missteps in his efforts to court veterans’ groups. After the Democratic summer convention, Trump for weeks publicly feuded with Khizr and Ghazala Khan, a Gold Star family whose son was killed while fighting in Afghanistan.
Watch Trump's full remarks via Right Wing Watch: