- During a meeting with veterans advocacy leaders at the White House in 2017, President Donald Trump reportedly confused some people in the room when he appeared to conflate Agent Orange with napalm.
- Agent Orange, which was used during the Vietnam War to clear dense vegetation, is a deadly herbicide with long-lasting effects.
- Napalm, a gel-like fuel mixture that burns slowly and more accurately than gasoline, was used in bombs.
- In his argument, Trump reportedly referenced “Apocalypse Now,” the iconic Vietnam War film directed by Francis Ford Coppola.
- The movie includes an infamous scene where napalm is dropped on suspected enemy positions.
President Donald Trump confused some veterans advocacy leaders at the White House after he appeared to conflate Agent Orange, a dangerous herbicide, with napalm, a fuel used in bombs. According to a Daily Beast report published Friday, Trump’s misidentification was based on his interpretation of the movie, “Apocalypse Now.”
In 2017, Trump reportedly asked the group for ways to help veterans, which was one of his campaign promises during the 2016 election. When he finally got to Vietnam war veteran Rick Weidman, cofounder of the Vietnam Veterans of America, the conversation got “really f—ing weird,” according to one attendee cited by the Daily Beast.
Weidman reportedly mentioned the lingering problems caused by Agent Orange – a herbicide used to clear dense vegetation during the Vietnam War. The human side-effects linger for years after contact. Weidman asked Trump to allow more service members who were exposed to Agent Orange to access benefits, The Daily Beast reported.
The potential risk from exposure to Agent Orange include cancer, birth defects, psychological problems, and rashes. Around three million Vietnamese and thousands of US and allied troops were reportedly exposed to the deadly herbicide.
- Omni Zoetrope/United Artists
“That’s taken care of,” Trump said at the meeting, according to The Daily Beast’s sources.
Members were reportedly confused by Trump’s response and pressed for clarification.
Trump suddenly asked the group if Agent Orange was “that stuff from that movie,” The Daily Beast reported. As Trump kept talking, attendees said it became clear he was referencing “Apocalypse Now,” the iconic Vietnam War film directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The 1979 film includes an infamous scene in which napalm is dropped on suspected enemy positions.
Veterans tried to inform Trump that he was referring to napalm – a type of fuel used in bombs – and not Agent Orange. But the president appeared to be confident in his assessment, saying something to the tune of, “no, I think it’s that stuff from the movie.”
Seeking confirmation, Trump reportedly asked other people in the room about the movie’s scene, The Daily Beast said. When he finally got back to Weidman, he posed the question again. Weidman said he did not enjoy the movie and believed it portrayed Vietnam War veterans in a negative light, according to The Daily Beast.
“Well, I think you just didn’t like the movie,” Trump reportedly responded.