Donald Trump has been loud and clear as to how he feels about both illegal immigration and U.S. veterans. His campaign has centered around the issue of immigration, with pledges to build a wall along the nation’s Southern border and make Mexico pay for it. He’s held rallies to discuss the immigration in border states like Arizona, and he claims to be responsible for introducing the issue to the GOP debate. In terms of his opinion on veterans, Trump infamously claimed John McCain was “not a war hero” because he was captured in Vietnam. He used the media backlash towards that comment to criticize McCain's treatment of veterans, and to argue he's always been supportive of the military.
Trump's latest quotable comment combines both his interests in illegal immigration and U.S. veterans. Trump believes that, in the United States, illegal immigrants are treated better than those who served in our military. “[I]llegal immigrants, in many cases, not in all cases, but in many cases, are treated better than our veterans, who are the greatest people we have,” Trump said during a speech at a National Federation of Republican Assemblies event in Nashville, according to Breitbart.
According to Opposing Views, Trump’s comments were intended to be critical of the health care treatment veterans receive compared to the treatment illegal immigrants receive. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has been under increased scrutiny in recent years, as thousands of veterans have reported outrageously long delays in treatment at various medical facilities. The U.S. has a huge problem with both physical and mental health issues for returning veterans, and Trump is one of the few candidates actively speaking on this issue.
As the Los Angeles Times reports, for instance, the suicide rate for veterans is roughly 50 percent higher than the average for civilians. Treatment for veterans is a vital issue that, like illegal immigration, needs to be solved. Trump’s claim that illegal immigrants are treated better than veterans might be an over-exaggeration intended to highlight two issues of his campaign, but he should be commended for bringing the issue of veteran treatment to the public’s attention.
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