Allen West stood up for Donald Trump on Monday after media controversy over the Republican presidential nominee’s comments about veterans facing post-traumatic stress disorder.
The retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and former congressman said the media twisted Trump’s words and took them out of context.
West was in attendance at an event held in Herndon, Va., that was sponsored by the Retired American Warriors political action committee. During the event, Trump was interviewed by members of the group.
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At one point, the GOP nominee said, “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. They see horror stories, they see events you couldn’t see in a movie, nobody would believe it.”
According to CNN and some other liberal media outlets, Trump’s remarks implied that veterans who commit suicide do so because they are too weak to deal with the stress of the things they witnessed.
“What abject liars and deceivers these people are!” West wrote on his blog Monday. “On my salute hand, trigger finger, I wear the #22Kill.com ring, that signifies the 22 veterans on average who each day are taking their lives. Mr. Trump stated the obvious: that the challenges cast upon these young men and women by a system that lets them down seems too great to overcome.”
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West said that while it is true that some soldiers are more capable of dealing with the consequences of war, this is not a new concept. The same has been true throughout history.
He added that Trump’s comments should be taken at face value and nothing should be read into them.
West said he recently had been asked to speak with a soldier who was possibly contemplating taking his life. He said he encouraged the individual to stay strong and courageous. After instructing the soldier to take a rest but not give up, West prayed for him. He said he later received an email telling him the soldier had turned the corner.
The retired colonel went on to quote the Scripture verses in 2 Corinthians 12:19-20 (NIV): “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
West said no one at the event Monday took issue with Trump’s comments.
“We saw him as someone concerned about the horrific treatment of our men and women in uniform, the deplorable state of our military, and the insidious ideological social agenda being cast upon our military by a president who cannot define our enemy, militant Islamic terrorism,” he wrote.
West said that “CNN has shown their bias, as if we thought anything different.” He called the report “deceitful” and suggested it be completely disregarded.
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Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who is an adviser for Trump, also commented on Trump’s remarks.
In a statement, Flynn said, “Mr. Trump was highlighting the challenges veterans face when returning home after serving their country. He has always respected the service and sacrifice of our military men and women — proposing reforms to Veteran Affairs to adequately address the various issues veterans face when they return home.”
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