The 2016 presidential election has spawned one of the most newsworthy and sensational campaign seasons that the United States has ever seen. Both candidates are constantly entering the spotlight for a number of political reasons, and they don’t always come away from those interactions with the public looking the way they hoped they would. One such incident happened when Donald Trump made some questionable statements regarding veterans of combat tours who experience post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
Trump was making a campaign speech when he made the statement that any veteran who experiences PTSD wasn’t capable of dealing with war in the first place, and his implication was that they were weaker than they needed to be in order to properly serve their country. Trump completely ignored common sense when he made these statements since it is clear to everyone who has ever served that PTSD is something that could happen to absolutely anyone, especially military personnel carrying out combat directives.
In an effort to showcase the derision Donald Trump seems to feel for the military, Vice President Joe Biden went over the comments Trump made and discussed their vitriolic nature in a moving speech before a crowd of supporters. Any intelligent person should be able to see that members of the armed forces who experience PTSD are some of the bravest men and women to ever serve the United States, and Biden was able to convey that sense to the crowd with ease.
Biden started the speech by questioning the patriotism of Trump, wondering how a presidential candidate could rationalize saying anything even close to negative about retired veterans of the United States military. He told the story of his late son who served in Iraq, and he segued directly to a story of an army captain who saved one of his fellow soldiers from a burning Humvee that had been attacked with an explosive device. Biden remembered speaking with the young captain, who reminded him of his son, but their conversation was deeply jarring to Biden.
Biden met the young soldier when he was scheduled to award the man a service medal for his bravery and action in the field. The event occurred in front of the soldier’s entire brigade, but when Biden went to pin the medal to the soldier’s shirt, he refused it. He told Biden that he didn’t want the medal multiple times, and he explained it was because the friend he attempted to save from the burning Humvee didn’t survive.
Biden was visibly upset when retelling the story, and he shouted into the microphone at certain points to convey his anger at Donald Trump for making light of such a serious situation. Biden asked the crowd to consider how often the young soldier lies awake at night, unable to get the image of his dead comrade out of his head long enough to relax to sleep. How long would that man be sentenced to a life of constant depression, anxiety, fear, and regret? Had Donald Trump even considered such examples of bravery when he made his callous and thoughtless remarks?
It should be noted that Donald Trump has never served in the military to any degree, and many instances in his past seem to point to the idea that Trump considers the military as nothing more than a tool, either literally for the government or politically for those seeking the office of the President of the United States. It seems highly unlikely that Trump will follow through on any promises he has made regarding the treatment of veterans. The problem isn’t that he doesn’t understand the true nature of the military and their service. The problem is that he doesn’t seem to want to understand. He is content with his own misguided perception.