Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump suggested during a Monday campaign event that veterans suffering from PTSD are weak. That’s one of those stories you hear and think, “That can’t possibly be true.” Indeed, that was the reaction of David Maulsby, the executive director of the Texas-based PTSD Foundation of America. From the Associated Press:
[Maulsby] hoped Trump’s remarks had been taken out of context. But after watching a recording of the exchange, he said the Republican nominee’s words were detrimental to veterans struggling with PTSD symptoms.
“At the very least, it’s a very poor choice of words. PTSD is basically a rewiring of the brain as the result of trauma or prolonged trauma. That is not a reflection of a person’s strength, character, stamina — any of that,” Maulsby said.
“Our veterans who are struggling with post-traumatic stress as a result of their combat need to be encouraged to seek help, and not be told they are weak or deficient in character in any way, shape or form,” he said.
Here’s what Trump said, speaking to a crowd organized by the Retired American Warriors political action committee:
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…
Trump advisor Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn attempted to deflect and blame the media. That’s probably the best play for a surrogate, but may not prove particularly effective. After all, this is hardly the first time that Trump has said something disrespectful of veterans. Recall that, mere months ago, he questioned whether Senator John McCain should be considered a hero for being captured as a prisoner of war.
Of course, Hillary Clinton is worse. That’s the refrain Trump’s supporters will fervently chirp, and it has the virtue of being true. Too bad their candidate keeps stealing the focus from that fact.