Donald Trump should probably just take a break from talking about veterans. At a campaign event in Virginia on Tuesday, Trump told the story of a combat veteran who gifted the candidate his Purple Heart, saying, "I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier." Understandably, he has since received yet another round of backlash, particularly from veterans and Purple Heart recipients who clearly don't support Trump for president.
Trump's comments on Thursday came after a tumultuous few days between him and Khizr Khan, the father of a U.S. Army captain who was killed in combat about 12 years ago. Khan spoke at the Democratic National Convention last week in support of Hillary Clinton, criticizing Trump's policies proposals and his understanding of Islam. Trump fired back, and the drama continued as you'd expect it to.
At Tuesday's campaign event in Virginia, Trump again spoke out about veterans. He told the story of his exchange with a Purple Heart recipient, and then he invited that Purple Heart recipient up onto the stage with him. His comments, though, showed that his understanding of the Purple Heart was about as good as his understanding of Islam. As many other Purple Heart recipients have pointed out, the medal — while an honor — is not something that anyone "wants." It's awarded to veterans who have been wounded or killed while serving. It's also not something to joke about. Enter round of criticism #13723498 of Trump by veterans and their loved ones.
It's not often that a Republican candidate for president struggles to appeal to veterans. In both the 2014 mid-term elections and the 2012 presidential election, veterans preferred Republican candidates by a 20-point margin, according to The Washington Post. Yet Tuesday marks the umpteenth time in less than a week that Trump has received harsh criticism from veterans and their loved ones. Maybe now is a good time for Trump to go back to talking about literally anything else.