Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump claims that 30 years ago, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl would have been shot by a firing squad. The business mogul has repeatedly criticized the Obama administration for negotiating the release of Bergdahl from Taliban captivity in exchange for five political prisoners (video below).
Bergdahl allegedly left his post while stationed in Afghanistan in June 2009 and was quickly captured by Taliban forces, ABC News reports. The U.S. spent resources and manpower to try and recover the captured Sergeant for years until the Obama administration negotiated a prisoner swap in 2014, trading five Guantanmo Bay-held Taliban leaders for Bergdahl’s release.
Trump, speaking to an audience of 1,620 at the Treasure Island casino-hotel in Nevada on Oct. 8, said that Bergdahl should be executed.
“We’re tired of Sgt. Bergdahl, who’s a traitor, a no-good traitor, who should have been executed,” Trump said. “Thirty years ago, he would have been shot.”
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In March of this year, Bergdahl was charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, and the Army conducted a hearing on his case in September. While a recommendation on whether or not to court martial the Sgt. has been made, it has yet to be made public, according to The Hill.
Eugene Fidell, Bergdahl’s attorney, said that Trump “has become a broken record on this subject,” reports ABC News.
“If he took the time to study what actually emerged at the preliminary hearing he would be singing a different tune," Fidell added.
“Mr. Trump must stop vilifying this young man, who suffered five years of brutal captivity at the hands of the Taliban and deserves to be judged on the basis of evidence rather than slander from someone who has never worn our country’s uniform," Fidell said in a September statement reported by The Daily Beast.
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Throughout his presidential campaign, Trump has always been outspoken on the topic of U.S. soldiers. In July, Trump sparked controversy with his comments on Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who was held captive during the Vietnam War.
“He’s not a war hero," Trump said at the time, according to Politico. "He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”