Trump's Comments About Vets With Mental Health Issues Spark Outrage

By Seth Ferranti 10/04/16

Trump's campaign staffers are accusing the media of twisting his words for the benefit of Hillary Clinton.

Trump's Comments About Vets With Mental Health Issues Spark Outrage

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke at a town hall-style event in Herndon, Virginia on Monday, hosted by the Retired American Warriors. He told the audience of military veterans that soldiers who develop PTSD or other mental health issues aren’t “strong” enough and “can’t handle it.” Thus highlighting the stigma of addiction, where those battling a substance use disorder are seen as weak because they can’t handle drugs like regular people do. Now Trump has categorized military personnel in the same way. 

"When you talk about the mental health problems, when people come back from war and combat, 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," the Republican presidential nominee told the audience. "And they see horror stories, they see events that you couldn’t see in a movie—nobody would believe it.”

Mental health advocates have been trying to de-stigmatize mental health issues like post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression to empower those who are suffering to reach out and ask for help. But Trump's words support the stigma that's especially prevalent in the military, where “fighting men” and “soldiers” aren’t supposed to show any signs of weakness and are expected to handle these issues on their own. But statistics show that over 20 veterans a day commit suicide rather than admit they are suffering and need professional help.

Trump said veteran suicides occur because they can’t make a doctor's appointment for "what could be a simple procedure, a simple prescription.” His campaign staffers accused the media of taking his words out of context to make Trump look bad and spread lies about him leading up to the presidential election. 

“The media continues to operate as the propaganda arm of Hillary Clinton as they took Mr. Trump’s words out of context in order to deceive voters and veterans—an appalling act that shows they are willing to go to any length to carry water for their candidate of choice,” said Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, one of Trump's top advisers. "Mr. Trump was highlighting the challenges veterans face when returning home after serving their country.”

A challenge that includes PTSD and the best treatment for it.

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After landing on the US Marshals Top-15 Most Wanted list and being sentenced to a 25 year sentence in federal prison for a first-time, nonviolent LSD offense, Seth built a writing and journalism career from his cell block. His raw portrayals of prison life and crack era gangsters graced the pages of Don DivaHoopshype and VICE. From prison he established Gorilla Convict, a true-crime publisher and website that documents the stories that the mainstream media can’t get with books like Prison Stories and Street Legends. His story has been covered by The Washington PostThe Washington Times, and Rolling Stone.

Since his release in 2015 he’s worked hard to launch GR1ND Studios, where true crime and comics clash. GR1ND Studios is bringing variety to the comic shelf by way of the American underground. These groundbreaking graphic novels tell the true story of prohibition-era mobsters, inner-city drug lords, and suburban drug dealers. Seth is currently working out of St. Louis, Missouri, writing for The FixVICEOZY, Daily Beast, and Penthouse and moving into the world of film. Check out his first short, Easter Bunny Assassin at You can find Seth on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.