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Donald Trump, PTSD

Donald Trump addressed conservative veterans in Herndon, Virginia, early this week. Those who attended came away with a clear message: if you are suicidal or loved someone who has committed suicide as a result of complex and general post-traumatic stress disorder, it’s simply because you “couldn’t handle it.”

Recent studies have shown that PTSD and C-PTSD may be more physical than psychological. It’s hard to fight an invisible enemy that physically beats you as well as psychologically wears you down.

“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 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. They see horror stories, they see events you couldn’t see in a movie, nobody would believe it,” Trump said Monday during an interview at the Retired American Warriors PAC.

Given how often Trump inserts his foot into his mouth, you’d think the man had developed a taste for latex and leather. His insensitive comments left his publicists and campaign managers scrambling to sort out the word salad spewing from the GOP candidate’s mouth.

Related: Explaining the Seemingly Bizarre Indian-Americans for Trump 2016 Movement

“Mr. Trump was highlighting the challenges veterans face when returning home after serving their country. He has always respected the service and sacrifice of our military men and women — proposing reforms to Veteran Affairs to adequately address the various issues veterans face when they return home,” Trump adviser and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn said in a statement.

“There’s a reason that hundreds of military leaders around the country have endorsed and signed on and sat in that room today to express their support for Donald Trump,” Trump senior adviser Sarah Huckabee Sanders told CNN’s John Berman.

Not all veterans are ready to hop aboard the Trump train. Both parties are rallying hard for the veteran vote, which often leans toward republican red. But this group has received intense criticism and insensitive insults by Trump himself, as seen in Clinton’s campaign video below.

“We’re talking about a person, in Trump, who believes that POWs aren’t real heroes, and that he’s made sacrifices akin to Gold Star Families who lost their loved ones in war,” Jon Soltz, an Iraq War veteran and Chairman of the progressive VoteVets.org, said in a statement. “The constant disrespect Donald Trump shows towards our veterans and service members is sickening, and completely and totally disqualifying.”

Clinton tweeted her support of those suffering from PTSD. Last week at a CNN Town Hall meeting, President Obama spoke about PTSD and other mental health issues of veterans.

“I have instructed the Joint Chiefs, and up and down the chain of command, that they have a responsibility to de-stigmatize mental health issues and issues of PTSD, and help to explain to everybody in all of the units under their command that there’s nothing weak about asking for help,” Obama told a military widow at the event.

Veterans and their loved ones have responded to Trump’s comments and the politicization of PTSD between the two candidates.



Laurel Dickman is an intersectional feminist, plus size model, stylist, and fat activist that can also be found via her blogs, Exile In Dietville and 2 Broke Bitches. She grew up in the south between Florida and North Carolina, migrating to the Portland, OR in 2005. All three places inform her perspective of the world around her a great deal. While in Portland, she worked with the Alley 33 Annual Fashion Show, PudgePDX, PDX Fatshion, Plumplandia, and numerous other projects over the near decade that she was there. In August of 2014, she moved to the Bay area with her partner, David and trusty kitty, Dorian Gray. She continues her body positive and intersectional feminism through various forms of activism, fashion, photography projects, and writing from her home in the East Bay. She can be reached at laurel@wyvmag.com and encourages readers to reach out to her to collaborate!

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