At a campaign rally for Hillary Clinton in Florida on Monday, Vice President Joe Biden berated Donald Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, in an impassioned speech about the mental-health issues some veterans face when they return from war.
“Every one of those warriors left behind an entire family, a community for us – 52,419 wounded, but as a veteran can tell you, there are over 200,000 coming home with unseen wounds,” Biden said.
Biden, whose son Beau served in the US armed forces before dying of cancer in 2015, said taking care of returning veterans and their families was a “sacred obligation” for America.
He was responding to comments Trump made Monday during a panel at the Retired American Warriors PAC in Herndon, Virginia. At the event, Trump suggested veterans who have mental-health issues aren’t as able to cope with the consequences of battle.
“When you talk about the mental-health problems – when people come back from war and combat,” Trump said, “and 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.”
Trump’s comments were interpreted by some as insulting to veterans who endure psychological and emotional trouble after serving. Biden appeared to take issue with the suggestion that mental-health issues were a sign of weakness.
“Where the hell is he from?” Biden asked rhetorically. “I don’t think [Trump] was trying to be mean. He is just so thoroughly, completely uninformed.”
In a New York Daily News cover story, the mother of a veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder who died called Trump’s comments “absurd and ignorant.”
The Trump campaign responded to the criticism, calling news outlets “the propaganda arm of Hillary Clinton” and saying the Manhattan billionaire’s words were taken “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.”