Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona defended Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's comments on post-traumatic stress disorder.
“This is kind of the classic example of the media feeding frenzy that is going on,” McCain, who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, told the Arizona Daily Star. "The bias that is in the media. What he is saying is that some people, for whatever reason, and we really don’t understand why, suffer from PTSD, and others don’t.”
Trump drew criticism on Oct. 3 for saying some American soldiers “can't handle” the horrors of war, which causes their PTSD.
“When you talk about the mental health problems, when people come back from war and combat and they see things that maybe a lot of 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 said, according to USA Today. “They see horror stories, they see events you couldn't see in a movie, nobody would believe it.”
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Trump went on to talk about the high rates of suicide among American soldiers who have endured the Iraq War.
“You know when you hear the 22 suicides a day, it's a big part of your question, but when you hear the 22 suicides a day, that should never be,” Trump continued. “That should never be. So we're going to be addressing that very strongly.”
A Department of Veteran Affairs study released on July 7 found 20 U.S. veterans commit suicide everyday, Military Times reported.
Trump added that veterans' issues would be a focal point of his presidency.
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“And the whole mental health issue is going to be a very important issue when I take over, and the VA is going to be fixed in so many ways, but that's gonna be one of the ways we're gonna help,” he said, according to USA Today. “And that's in many respects going to be the number one thing we have to do because I think it's really been left behind.”
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who voted for the Iraq War as a Senator of New York in 2002, sharply criticized Trump's remarks.
“Every one of our troops matter,” Clinton said, according to Real Clear Politics. "Their wounds could be visible, or they could be invisible. Our troops deserve a commander in chief who understands and respects the sacrifices they make. Every American dealing with mental health challenges deserves compassion whether they've ever served in uniform or not."