Veterans Are Pissed Trump Said Soldiers With PTSD Aren't 'Strong' Enough For War

by John Haltiwanger

On Monday, while speaking to a group of veterans in Herndon, Virginia, Donald Trump suggested veterans with PTSD aren't "strong" and can't "handle" what they saw in combat.

The Republican presidential nominee, who is not a veteran and was granted five draft deferments during Vietnam, said,

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. Nobody would believe it.

By making this comment, Trump seemed to imply anyone suffering from PTSD is weak.

This is hardly the first problematic or offensive statement Trump has made regarding veterans.

The real estate mogul generated controversy last July when he insulted Senator John McCain's war record and time spent as a POW in Vietnam.

Trump said,

He's not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured.

The Republican presidential nominee also infuriated people across the country when he insulted the family of Captain Humayun Khan, a US soldier who was killed in Iraq.

This comment regarding veterans with PTSD appears to be generating a similar, if not greater, level of outrage.




In particular, people are pointing out one of Trump's draft deferments was because of "bone spurs" in his heels, while the other four were for education.


Veterans and others who know people with PTSD are also chiming in, clearly disgusted by what Trump said.


Between 11 and 20 out of every 100 veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have PTSD, according to the VA.

Meanwhile, the VA estimates 20 veterans commit suicide every day.

PTSD is a mental illness that is treatable.

By suggesting PTSD is a product of weakness, Trump perpetuated a dangerous stigma that could cause people to feel guilty or ashamed about seeking help.

In related news, President Obama spoke last week with Amanda Souza, a widow whose husband died by suicide while serving in the military, about the stigma surrounding mental illness during a CNN Town Hall.

The president said,

If you break your leg, you're going to go to the doctor to get that leg healed. If, as a consequence of the extraordinary stress and pain that you are witnessing, typically, in a battlefield, something inside you feels like it's wounded, it's just like a physical injury. You've got to go get help. There's nothing weak about that. It's strong.

Indeed, there's nothing weak about having mental illness or seeking treatment, and suggesting otherwise is irresponsible and insulting.

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Citations: Politico, Politico, New York Times, Wall Street Journal