Speaking to a room full of veterans Monday, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump seemed to suggest soldiers who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) aren't strong.
"When people come back from war and combat and they see maybe what the people 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 said, via Buzzfeed News.
The comments, which reportedly were greeted by a silence over the room, came during a question-and-answer session with the Retired American Warriors Pac. Some on social media were quick to criticize the GOP nominee for the comments
Trump reportedly made the PTSD comments just after saying 22 veterans commit suicide every day, using an often-cited, but outdated figure from the Department of Veteran Affairs. The department updated that figure this year, saying it was closer to 20 suicides per day. Trump mentioned Monday that his plan for the VA would allow veterans to receive care at any hospital and not just at VA clinics, which he said are overwhelmed with long lines.
"People are killing themselves what are waiting on line because they have days and days before what could be a simple procedure, a simple prescription, and the wait is so long, they can’t take it," Trump said, according to Buzzfeed.
Trump previously stumbled talking with veterans when he criticized in July 2015 the service of Arizona Sen. John McCain, who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. "He's not a war hero," Trump said. "He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured." Trump received a number of deferments from serving in the Vietnam War.
The GOP nominee has registered a fair amount of support among the military. A September survey from the Military Times and Syracuse University's Institute for Veterans and Military Families found Trump registered 37.6 percent among the entire military force, followed by Libertarian Gary Johnson at 36.5 percent and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton at 16.3 percent.