September 8, 2016

THIS WENT WELL: Vets outraged over IAVA comments, refusal to include Gary Johnson in forum.

Veterans are lashing out at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America over comments the president made in response to their criticism that Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson would not be included in Wednesday’s candidate forum.

The backlash has caused at least one donor, Duke Cannon Supply Co. (a men’s grooming supply company that markets to and is well respected by veterans), to pull its partnership from the IAVA.

On Tuesday, IAVA had publicly thanked Duke for its partnership. Shortly after, Duke publicly announced that it was “NO LONGER proud to count the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America among our roster of philanthropic partners.” Duke thanked the “Veteran community for keeping us informed of right and wrong #NotForClowns.”

So what happened? Well, IAVA is hosting a Commander in Chief forum Wednesday night, but the only two candidates invited were Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. This angered many, many veterans who support Johnson, and they voiced their criticism to IAVA.

“If you don’t let Johnson debate, you can’t claim to be a group that speaks for veterans in any way,” wrote one person.

“It’s shameful for a veterans group to not invite the candidate most popular with veterans,” wrote another.

Marine blogger Aaron Ferencik has been one of the most vocal critics of Reickhoff, accusing him on his blog, The Burn Pit, of being partisan and perhaps exaggerating his military service.

Meanwhile, Nicholas Sarwark, chair of the Libertarian National Committee, has threatened legal action against IAVA over its refusal to invite Johnson.

Many angry veterans contacted Duke and other sponsors. On a Facebook page about the announcement, Duke responded to comments about the situation, writing: “We were unaware their founder [referring to IAVA president Paul Reickhoff] was a complete lying douchebag. We will no longer be supporting this organization.” The comment was later deleted.

Well.

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