Back in May, the Military Times released a survey in which 54% of troops said that they would vote for Republican candidate Donald Trump. But that number could very well drop to 0% now that the Republican nominee has made an insensitive remark about veterans who struggle with PTSD.
On Monday, October 3, Trump attended a veteran’s rally in Virginia in which he insinuated that service members who struggle with PTSD are weak. His exact quote, verbatim, is as follows:
“They [veterans] see things that maybe a lot of the 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.”
The comment was met with widespread criticism, with several news outlets posting editorials on how this kind of commentary is precisely why there’s such a stigma surrounding mental health issues. Trump’s latest faux pas has analysts wondering if he has just alienated one of the last groups of voters he has left: military voters.
Historically, service members overwhelmingly vote conservative. But Trump’s remark could be a game-changer, and for the first time in history, the U.S. might see the majority of its military vote Democrat.
But then again, who knows, because one veteran has already come to Trump’s defense. Marine Staff Sergeant Chad Robichaux, who is the president and founder of the Mighty Oaks Warrior Programs, believes Donald Trumps words were “twisted.”
“I think it’s sickening that anyone would twist Mr. Trump’s comments to me in order to pursue a political agenda,” Robichaux stated. “I took his comments to be thoughtful and understanding of the struggles many veterans have, and I believe he is committed to helping them.”
Military voters remain one of America’s most important demographics, with an estimated 44 million voters. The loss of this demographic could spell disaster for Trump, who has already alienated other vital demographics including: Latinos, women, African Americans, Muslims, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.