A hotline set up by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in July 2015 is reportedly no longer taking calls.
Attempts to reach the number resulted in an automated voice message requesting the caller to send an email, The Blaze reported.
Trump announced the creation of the hotline in the wake of a controversial exchange with Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, when the business mogul said the military veteran was not a hero.
“Mr. Trump has established a hotline (855-VETS-352) and email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) for Veterans to share their stories about the need to reform our Veterans Administration,” a statement from the Trump campaign read at the time, according to Mediaite. “If he is elected President he will take care of these and all Veterans complaints very quickly and efficiently like a world-class businessman can do, but a politician has no clue.”
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The automated message asked callers to use the email address because they “are working hard for our country’s veterans,” according to The Blaze.
However, Trump supporters have allegedly attacked veterans’ groups that have refused to back the candidate.
Paul Rieckhoff, CEO of Iraq Afghanistan Veterans of America, told The Daily Beast that's what happened to his organization after he announced it would not accept donations from Trump.
“We’ve gotten a flood of nasty attacks … many scary and threatening emails, [the] worst social media trolling I’ve ever seen,” he said. “Showing what happens when you simply say no. This is the climate he’s created with his followers.”
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Another veterans’ group that spoke out against Trump claimed it was bombarded the next day with phone calls and emails.
“The next day, people called our office [and they] were very vile,” the executive director of an unnamed veterans’ group said. “People were issuing threats, they were calling our members ‘faggots.’ We had a very vitriolic response. They were saying things like, ‘We’re going to take down your group,’ even up to what could only be interpreted as physical threats: ‘You better watch out the next time you hold an event.’”
Trump is leading in polls ahead of the Feb. 20 Republican primary in South Carolina, where there is a large veteran community.