'It Matters Whether a President Reflects the Ethical Notions of a Nation. It Matters That He or She Has Basic Sensibilities.'
Vice President Joe Biden Monday evening blasted Donald Trump's "completely uninformed" view of the military and especially veterans with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries. Hours earlier, speaking to a veterans political action committee, Trump told them that vets who die by suicide, or who live with PTSD, are not "strong" enough and just "can't handle it."
"Where in the hell is he from?," Biden said, as the Sarasota, Florida crowd began to laugh. "No, no, no, no, no. This is deadly earnest," the Vice President explained.
Vice President Biden's words are so powerful, so important, so necessary, it's a disservice to edit them down. The video is just three-and-a-half minutes, and totally worth it to see Biden's passionate support of our veterans, and speaking the real truth about Donald Trump:
It matters whether a president reflects the ethical notions of a nation. It matters that he or she has basic sensibilities.
Earlier today he said to a group of veterans, and I'm quoting - I didn't see this, but I was told this by Chris Cuomo, who interviewed me at the last stop - he said, and I quote, 'When you talk about mental health problems, when people come back from war and combat, they see things that maybe a lot of folks in this room have seen many times over.' And then he points out to the veterans in the room and he says, 'And you're strong. You can handle it. But a lot of people can't handle it.' Where in the hell is he from? No, no, no, no, no. This is deadly earnest.
My son, who spent a year in Iraq, came back a highly decorated veteran, Bronze Star and a lot else. I've been in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan over 29 times. I found myself in Iraq being asked by General Odierno, a four-star, to pin a silver medal on a young captain who had pulled someone out of a burning Humvee, risking his life. And when I went to pin it on him in front of the entire brigade, he look at me and he said, 'Sir, I don't want the medal. I don't want the medal.' You know why? He said 'He died. He died, Mr. Vice President. I don't want the medal.' How many nights does that kid go to sleep seeing that image in his head, dealing with it?
I have a card I carry with me, my schedule. Every single day I have my staff contact the Defense Department early in the morning. There's a black box in the bottom of it. And it lists, 'U.S. Daily Troop Update. U.S. troops died in Afghanistan and Iraq: 6,753.' Not plus-6,000. Not 6,700. 6,753. Because every one of those warriors left behind an entire family, a community, for us. Every one of them. 52,419 wounded. But as a veteran can tell you, over 200,000 coming home with unseen wounds. Twenty suicides a month.
I don't think he was trying to be mean. He is just so thoroughly, completely uninformed. We only have one - I've been saying this, and when I said it 15 years ago I got criticized for it, but I make no apologies - we only have one - we have a lot of obligations. We only have one sacred obligation: to care for those we send to war and to care for them and their families when they come home. We have obligations to the elderly and the poor and - that's the only sacred, sacred obligation we have. The average life expectancy of those wounded in - excuse me - in Vietnam - 70 percent of those wounded in Afghanistan or Iraq, had they been wounded in Vietnam, would have died. But because of the Golden Hour, they're alive, but their life expectancy is 35 years. They're going to need extended medical help the rest of their lives.
What are the chances this guy will honor that commitment? I'm serious about this. I'm serious about it. It's not that he just doesn't get it. He has no interest in finding out. What type of leader, what type of woman or man who wants to be president would get up at 3 o'clock in the morning - and tweet, and I quote, 'Hillary,' quote, 'helped disgusting Alicia M become a U.S. citizen so she could use her in a debate.' Disgust - I mean, all kidding aside, I mean, think what that says about us as a nation around the world. That the leader of one of the two major political parties - 3:30 in the morning. And this guy wants to be president of the United States of America?"
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