HFA Response to Commander-in-Chief Forum

Hillary_for_America_2016_logo.svgFollowing Wednesday night’s Commander-in-Chief Forum on NBC, Hillary for America released several responses to criticisms levels against Hillary Clinton and proposals made by Donald Trump. All of HFA’s releases are presented below (Note: each release is separated by the bold title headers).

HFA Response to Commander-in-Chief Forum

In response to tonight’s forum, Hillary for America Chair John Podesta released the following statement:

“The difference tonight could not have been more clear. Hillary Clinton showed a firm command of the issues and the qualifications, experience and judgment to be commander in chief. In contrast, the nominee of the party of Ronald Reagan just attacked America’s generals and showered praise on Russia’s president. Trump sputtered his way through the forum, making clear his secret ISIS plan is no plan at all, doubling down on the idea that the military should have known better than to have men and women serve together and lying yet again about his early support for the war in Iraq.”

Hillary Clinton Has a Record of Supporting Our Veterans

Hillary Clinton has fought throughout her career to ensure that all veterans have access to the opportunities and tools they need to succeed upon returning home:

  • Expanded health care coverage for Reservists and National Guard members. Hillary worked across the aisle with Senator Lindsey Graham to expand access to military health insurance, ensuring that members of the Reserves and National Guard—and their families—had access to military health benefits even when they’re not deployed.
  • Protected family members caring for wounded warriors. Hillary collaborated closely with Senator Chris Dodd to author and introduce new legislation that aimed to broaden protections afforded by the Family and Medical Leave Act to the family members of wounded service members. She is proud that the legislation was enacted as part of the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act.
  • Supported survivors of fallen service members. Working with Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Hillary introduced legislation to expand benefits afforded to surviving spouses. She joined with Republican Senator Chuck Hagel to introduce a bill to increase the gratuity paid to family members of fallen veterans from $12,000 to $100,000, a proposal that was enacted as part of the 2005 supplemental appropriations act. Hillary also served as an honorary chairman for the non-profit Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, which provides resources and support to family members of those who have died in military service.
  • Fought for a GI Bill for the 21st century: Hillary was a proud cosponsor of the bipartisan and historic Post-9/11 GI Bill signed into law in 2008.  She also introduced a GI Bill of Rights to expand educational, housing and entrepreneurial opportunities for soldiers, veterans and their families.
  • Joined efforts to build veterans rehabilitation center. Hillary joined with Republican Senator John McCain to personally raise money for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. Their efforts were critical to building the Center for the Intrepid, a new $50 million state-of-the-art physical rehabilitation facility in San Antonio, Texas, designed specifically to help seriously wounded service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Fought to recognize Gulf War Syndrome and ensure Gulf War Veterans got the treatment they needed.  She met with sick veterans and researched Gulf War Syndrome before President Clinton announced the formation of a committee to study the issue and was a point person for the administration on the issue.

On this campaign, Clinton has laid out comprehensive plans not only to support our veterans and troops, but also to specifically improve the lives of military families:

  • Military Times: Clinton unveils plan for veterans, military personnel: “[T]he former secretary of state’s plan refutes Republican proposals to outsource much of VA’s operations, labeling such a move as “privatization” of the department that could leave veterans ‘vulnerable to a health care market poorly suited to their needs’ Instead, Clinton proposes revamping the Veterans Health Administration, offering better coordination with military health care, private physicians and other existing resources while still leaving VA in the lead role…. Clinton also vows to place stronger oversight on VA operations, to include regular meetings in the Oval Office with the department secretary, and promises a fully interoperable health records system between VA and the Defense Department…. On the issue of veterans suicide, Clinton promises increased funding for VA mental health staffing and training, expansion of department counseling programs and promotion of ‘better prescriber and treatment practices’ that offer more alternatives than medication. Clinton says she also will create a standing President’s Council on Veterans to coordinate services across government agencies, convene a White House summit inviting key service organizations and state leaders, and continue work with Obama’s Joining Forces initiative.”
  • Military.com/Virginian-Pilot: Clinton Offers Plans to Assist Military Families: “Arguing that the Pentagon has to be more sensitive to military families, Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton rolled out plans Tuesday to give service members more career flexibility and demand closer scrutiny of public schools teaching their children…. The former secretary of state proposes that members of military be able to more easily switch between active-duty, National Guard and reserve service ‘to make decisions good for their family and maintain a career with the military.’ She also would make permanent the Career Intermission Program that allows some military members to temporarily leave active duty for an extended period to pursue more education, care for children or tend to an ailing family member. Given the greater number of married couples who both are in uniform, Clinton wants the duty assignment process overhauled so that more spouses can serve near each other with neither losing ground in their career.”
  • Bustle: 6 Feminist Points In Hillary Clinton’s Veterans Plan That Are Awesomely Inclusive: “This plan includes numerous points that are geared toward women, culminating in an inclusive proposal that, thankfully, addresses specific issues that women veterans face.
  • TIME: Clinton: Stop For-Profit Colleges From Targeting Veterans: “Speaking before a roundtable with veterans in Reno, Nevada, Clinton focused her remarks on the so-called 90-10 rule. The rule requires for-profit colleges to accept at least 10% of their money from private dollars rather than federal financial aid and loans, with the idea of holding the schools more accountable to the open market. But an unintended loophole in the 90-10 rule means that federal military benefits like the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill can count toward schools’ 10%. That leads for-profit schools to aggressively target veterans in search of federal dollars, often deceptively. Proponents of a new bill say that veterans at many for-profit schools have high dropout rates and leave badly in debt. Clinton would plan to close the loophole.”
  • WMUR: Clinton rolls out vets plan, promises to fight full-fledged privatization of VA
  • Washington Post: Clinton promises better health care, other services, for female veterans
  • ThinkProgress: As Republicans Call For Its Elimination, Clinton Releases Plan To Strengthen The VA
  • Boston Herald: Hillary Clinton Vows ‘Zero Tolerance’ For VA Delays

Hillary Clinton op-ed in Military Times: Taking care of vets is ‘sacred responsibility’

Hillary Clinton’s Comprehensive Plan to Defeat ISIS and the Threat of Radical Jihadism

The threat we face from terrorism is real, urgent, and knows no boundaries. Hillary Clinton knows that ISIS cannot be contained, it must be defeated.  Doing so takes more than empty talk and a handful of slogans. It takes a real plan, real experience, and real leadership. Donald Trump lacks all three. He won’t even say what his plan to defeat ISIS is.

Hillary Clinton has laid out a comprehensive plan to defeat ISIS and keep American safe at home.  She understands that it’s not enough just to take out specific groups or leaders – we must have a comprehensive strategy to win the long game against the global terrorist network and its ideology.

First, we need to take out ISIS’s strongholds in the Middle East by intensifying the coalition air campaign, supporting our partners on the ground, and pursuing diplomacy to end Syria’s civil war and close Iraq’s sectarian divide, because those conflicts are keeping ISIS alive.

Second, we need to lash up with our allies to dismantle the global network that supplies money, arms, propaganda and fighters to the terrorists.  This means targeted efforts to root out ISIS hubs and affiliates and preventing terrorist organizations from establishing hubs elsewhere, choking off the networks that facilitate their growth and expansion.

And third, we need to harden our defenses at home, including by launching an intelligence surge to ensure law enforcement has the information they need to detect and disrupt plots, working with Silicon Valley to shut down terrorist propaganda online, and keeping guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists.  Hillary has also proposed establishing a “lone wolf” task force to identify and stop radicalized individuals who may or may not have contact and direction from any formal organization.

As we do all of this, we cannot allow terrorists to intimidate us into abandoning our values or allowing us to be driven by fear to embrace policies that would actually make us less safe.  Hillary knows that all communities need to be engaged in the fight against ISIS.  As the Director of the FBI told Congress recently, anything that erodes trust with Muslim-Americans makes the job of law enforcement more difficult.  American Muslims are on the front lines of efforts to combat radicalization, and we need to increase trust and cooperation with law enforcement.  Since 9/11, law enforcement agencies have worked hard to build relationships with Muslim-American communities. They are the most likely to recognize the insidious effects of radicalization before it’s too late, and the best positioned to help us block it. Hillary knows we should be intensifying contacts in those communities, not scapegoating or isolating them. And as we engage in this fight, we will be stronger with our allies and partners standing with us, particularly in the Muslim world, as we cannot win this fight alone.

Praise for Hillary’s Plan

  • New York Times’ David Brooks: “This week we had a chance to watch Hillary Clinton respond in real time to a complex foreign policy challenge. On Thursday, six days after the Paris attacks, she gave a comprehensive antiterrorism speech at the Council on Foreign Relations. The speech was very impressive. While other candidates are content to issue vague calls to get tough on terror, Clinton offered a multilayered but coherent framework, not only dealing with ISIS but also putting that threat within the crosscutting conflicts that are inflaming the Middle East.… [Clinton] is thoughtful and instructive on both the big picture and the right way forward.”
  • CNN: “Michael Desch, an expert in international security at Notre Dame University, said that Clinton’s speech was polished and showed her to be ‘head and shoulders’ above Republican candidates on framing an anti-ISIS strategy.”
  • US News & World Report’s Dave Catanese: “A strong performance delivered with the poise of an incumbent president”
  • Politico’s Roger Simon: “Hillary gives one of her best speeches ever on world terror. So presidential, they practically played ‘Hail to the Chief.’”
  • Defense One’s Kevin Baron: “[Clinton’s speech is the] Most comprehensive and detailed Mideast/Isis plans I’ve heard from any US leader so far, of late”
  • Quartz: “…talking about how to actually tackle Islamist extremism is complicated and politically fraught. It’s easier to play to fears about outsiders than to develop a substantive program. At least one US politician has given some thought to an idea about what to do: Presidential contender and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton delivered a speech today (Nov. 19) outlining her plan to battle the nexus of Islamist ideology that ISIL has created in the Middle East’s failed states… It’s a cohesive approach…”
  • New York Times’ David Brooks: “This week we had a chance to watch Hillary Clinton respond in real time to a complex foreign policy challenge. On Thursday, six days after the Paris attacks, she gave a comprehensive antiterrorism speech at the Council on Foreign Relations. The speech was very impressive. While other candidates are content to issue vague calls to get tough on terror, Clinton offered a multilayered but coherent framework, not only dealing with ISIS but also putting that threat within the crosscutting conflicts that are inflaming the Middle East.… [Clinton] is thoughtful and instructive on both the big picture and the right way forward.”
  • CNN: “Michael Desch, an expert in international security at Notre Dame University, said that Clinton’s speech was polished and showed her to be ‘head and shoulders’ above Republican candidates on framing an anti-ISIS strategy.”
  • US News & World Report’s Dave Catanese: “A strong performance delivered with the poise of an incumbent president”
  • Politico’s Roger Simon: “Hillary gives one of her best speeches ever on world terror. So presidential, they practically played ‘Hail to the Chief.’”
  • Defense One’s Kevin Baron: “[Clinton’s speech is the] Most comprehensive and detailed Mideast/Isis plans I’ve heard from any US leader so far, of late”
  • Quartz: “…talking about how to actually tackle Islamist extremism is complicated and politically fraught. It’s easier to play to fears about outsiders than to develop a substantive program. At least one US politician has given some thought to an idea about what to do: Presidential contender and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton delivered a speech today (Nov. 19) outlining her plan to battle the nexus of Islamist ideology that ISIL has created in the Middle East’s failed states… It’s a cohesive approach…”
Donald Trump: Not Fit to Serve as Commander-in-Chief

Donald Trump seeks our nation’s highest office, but he so utterly lacks the temperament required of the United States’ Commander-in-Chief it would be laughable if it weren’t so frightening. As Hillary Clinton reminded us in June, some of the comments he has made about world affairs are so ignorant, incoherent, and/or outrageous, it is hard to believe they actually came out of the mouth of a presidential nominee. As Hillary Clinton has said, Donald Trump is a loose cannon, and loose cannons tend to misfire.

Here are five reasons why Donald Trump is temperamentally unfit to serve as president:

  1. He wants more countries to have nuclear weapons:

COOPER:  So you have no problem with Japan and South Korea having nuclear weapons TRUMP:  At some point we have to say, you know what, we’re better off if Japan protects itself against this maniac in North Korea, we’re better off, frankly, if South Korea is going to start to protect itself

  1. He has said he would order our military to carry out torture:

TRUMP: “Don’t tell me it doesn’t work — torture works… Waterboarding is fine, but it’s not nearly tough enough, ok?”

  1. He has threatened to abandon our NATO allies:

TRUMP: “We don’t really need NATO in its current form. NATO is obsolete… if we have to walk, we walk.”

TRUMP, on whether he’d defend NATO allies from a Russian invasion: “Have they fulfilled their obligations to us? If they fulfill their obligations to us, the answer is yes.”

  1. He won’t have to listen to our generals or ambassadors because of his “very good brain,” but he counts running the Miss Universe pageant as experience with Russia and he doesn’t understand Iran or its nuclear program:

TRUMP: “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things…my primary consultant is myself”

TRUMP: “I know Russia well. I had a major event in Russia two or three years ago, Miss Universe contest, which was a big, big, incredible event.”

TRUMP: “When those restrictions expire, Iran will have an industrial-size military nuclear capability ready to go.” (Politifact: False.)

TRUMP: “I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me.”

  1. He praises dictators….

Vladimir Putin

TRUMP: “I will tell you, in terms of leadership, he’s getting an ‘A,’ and our president is not doing so well.”

Saddam Hussein

TRUMP: “You know what, he did well. He killed terrorists. He did that so good.”

Kim Jong Un

TRUMP: “And you’ve got to give him credit. How many young guys — he was like 26 or 25 when his father died — take over these tough generals…. It’s incredible. He wiped out the uncle. He wiped out this one, that one. I mean, this guy doesn’t play games.”

…and picks fights with our allies:

Then-British Prime Minister David Cameron

TRUMP: “It looks like we are not going to have a very good relationship. Who knows?”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan

TRUMP: “Let’s take an I.Q. test… I think they’re very rude statements and frankly, tell him, I will remember those statements.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

TRUMP: “What Merkel has done is incredible, it’s actually mind boggling. Everyone thought she was a really great leader and now she’s turned out to be this catastrophic leader. And she’ll be out if they don’t have a revolution.”

President of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto

TRUMP: “I don’t know about the Hitler comparison [President Nieto made]. I hadn’t heard that, but it’s a terrible comparison. I’m not happy about that certainly. I don’t want that comparison, but we have to be strong and we have to be vigilant”

Pope Francis

TRUMP: “I don’t think [the Pope] understands the danger of the open border that we have with Mexico. I think Mexico got him to [criticize the wall] it because they want to keep the border just the way it is. They’re making a fortune, and we’re losing.

Trump’s Real History With Veterans

Despite Donald Trump’s occasional  lip service on the trail, Trump has been disrespecting our veterans for decades, continually proving he’s unqualified and temperamentally unfit to be commander-in-chief.

From planning to put the VA on a path to privatization, to firing reservists for their continued service to the nation, to lying about donations to veterans’ charities, to scamming veterans and their families through Trump University, to opposing the post-9/11 GI Bill, to insulting prisoners of war and our military, it’s clear veterans deserve better than Trump as their leader.

Trump Would Put the VA on a Path to Privatization:

  • WSJ: “Donald Trump Says He Would Make VA System More Privatized”
  • MSNBC: “Donald Trump Is Serious About Privatizing Veterans’ Care”

Trump Repeatedly Attacked A Gold Star Family

  • NYT: “Donald Trump Criticizes Muslim Family of Slain U.S. Soldier, Drawing Ire”
  • NYDN: “Gold Star families demand apology from Trump as he continues to blast parents of slain Muslim-American U.S. Army captain”
  • Washington Post: “Republicans denounce Trump as confrontation with Muslim parents escalates”

Trump Businesses Have Fired Reservists For Their Continued Service to the Nation

  • HuffPo: “Trump Institute Fired Veteran For ‘Absences’ After He Was Deployed To Afghanistan”
  • CNN: “Iraq war veteran claims Trump University fired her for serving in the Army Reserve”
  • HuffPo: “Third Veteran Dumped By Trump Because Of Military Service”

Trump Repeatedly Lied About Donations To Veterans Charities

  • Washington Post: “Here’s how we found out about Donald Trump’s phantom $1 million donation to vets”
  • Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum: “If character is supposed to be important in our presidents, this is evidence of the most contemptible kind of character imaginable. He tried to cheat a bunch of veterans!”
  • CNN: Trump’s website boasted that he gave $1 million to the 1995 Nation’s Day Parade, but the event’s organizer said that’s about three times more than he actually gave.
  • CNN: “After signing a deal to launch his brand of vodka, Trump went on CNN’s ‘Larry King Live’ in 2006 and described the venture, saying, ‘I’m giving the money to charity.’ … [T]he vodka company sent multiple press releases stating it would donate sales proceeds to the Walter Reed Society, a charity supporting programs at Walter Reed Hospital. The charity’s administrator tells CNN the donations amounted to about ’a few hundred dollars.’”

Trump Scammed Veterans Through Trump University

  • CNN [VIDEO]: 40-year Navy veteran scammed out of more than $26,000 by Trump University
  • Ex-Marine: “[Trump University] was a con. I’m 25-years-old, barely making $3,000 a month and they told me to increase my credit limit. I just maxed out three credit cards and I’m supposed to be able to qualify for loans to buy real estate? Those stupid principles have led me to borrow $700,000 of other people’s money and lose it all. I’m still paying off some of that debt to this day.”
  • TIME: “The records indicate, for example, that Trump University collected approximately $40 million from its students–who included veterans, retired police officers and teachers–and that Trump personally received approximately $5 million of it”

Trump Attempted To Kick Disabled Veterans Who Were Vendors Off The Street Across Two Decades

  • 1991: Trump Letter to State Assemblyman John Dearie: “While disabled veterans should be given every opportunity to earn a living, is it fair to do so to the detriment of the city as a whole or its tax paying citizens and businesses?… Do we allow Fifth Ave., one of the world’s finest and most luxurious shopping districts, to be turned into an outdoor flea market, clogging and seriously downgrading the area?”
  • 2004: Trump Letter to Mayor Bloomberg: “Whether they are veterans or not, they should not be allowed to sell on this most important and prestigious shopping street… I hope you can stop this very deplorable situation before it is too late.”

Trump Insults Our Military

  • Trump: “Our military is a disaster.”
  • NYT: “Donald J. Trump, who received draft deferments through much of the Vietnam War, told the author of a coming biography that he nevertheless ‘always felt that I was in the military’ because of his education at a military-themed boarding school.”

Trump on Armored Humvees: “If a bomb goes off our wounded warriors–instead of losing their legs, their arms, worse, they’re okay. They go for a little ride upward and they come down.”

Foreign Policy Experts, Allies, Republicans, Voters Share Concern Over Trump’s Pro-Putin Leanings

Donald Trump’s bizarre admiration for Vladimir Putin, his embrace of pro-Kremlin policies that undercut American interests and threaten our allies, and his campaign’s deep ties to Russia have been a cause for great alarm across the board.

Foreign Policy Experts and Analysts:

Op-ed by Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul: Why Putin wants a Trump victory (so much he might even be trying to help him): “Putin has rational motives for wanting Trump to win: Trump champions many foreign policies that Putin supports. Trump’s most shocking, pro-Kremlin proposal is to “look into” recognition of Crimea as a part of Russia…. Trump has demanded that other NATO members essentially pay us for protection… Trump has also disparaged our allies in Asia, creating new opportunities for Russian influence…. On the whole, Trump advocates isolationist policies and an abdication of U.S. leadership in the world. He cares little about promoting democracy and human rights. A U.S. retreat from global affairs fits precisely with Putin’s international interests.”

Reuters: Senior ex-CIA official: Putin made Trump ‘an unwitting agent’ of Russia: “A former top CIA official attacked Donald Trump on Friday as a danger to national security, saying President Vladimir Putin had made the Republican presidential candidate an ‘unwitting agent’ of Russia. Putin had flattered Trump into supporting positions favorable to Russia, Michael Morell, a longtime CIA officer and former deputy director of the agency, said in an opinion piece in The New York Times. ‘In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation,’ Morell said”

Politico: Is Putin playing Trump like he did Berlusconi?: “[T]he Berlusconi-Putin bromance has acquired a new resonance, as foreign policy analysts and even some U.S. officials see unsettling echoes in the recent long-distance kinship between the Russian leader and Donald J. Trump. It may even suggest that Putin is applying a specific method to the GOP nominee. In recent years Putin has befriended several major Western European politicians, including former leaders of France and Germany, who openly challenge U.S. and European policies toward Russia, including NATO’s buildup in Eastern Europe and economic sanctions punishing Putin’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.”

Slate’s Franklin Foer: Putin’s PuppetIf the Russian president could design a candidate to undermine American interests—and advance his own—he’d look a lot like Donald Trump.: “Donald Trump is like the Kremlin’s favored candidates, only more so. He celebrated the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU. He denounces NATO with feeling. He is also a great admirer of Vladimir Putin.”

United States Allies:

NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg on Trump’s NATO comments: “I will not interfere in the U.S. election campaign, but what I can do is say what matters for NATO. Solidarity among Allies is a key value for NATO. Two world wars have shown that peace in Europe is also important for the security of the United States.”

Estonian Foreign Ministry on Trump’s NATO comments: “Estonia’s commitment to our NATO obligations is beyond doubt and so should be the commitments by others.”

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics on Trump’s NATO comments: “We take our commitments seriously. We hope and expect that all our allies, big and small, take their commitments the same.”

Foreign Policy: Ukrainian Officials to Donald Trump: Please Stop Talking About Our Country: “Ukrainian Ambassador Valeriy Chaly to Washington told CNN on Monday that ‘everybody was surprised’ by Trump’s comments, which are ‘in contradiction with [the] official position of [the] White House, of the United States, and of Republicans before.’ … Chaly’s remarks came after former Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk also condemned Trump’s comments on Ukraine, saying in a Facebook post on Sunday that the presidential candidate had violated ‘the very values of the free world, civilized world order, and international law.’ … Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov also lashed out at Trump, saying in a separate Facebook post that his “shameless statement…on possible recognition of Crimea as Russia is a diagnosis of a dangerous fringe politician.’”

AP: Trump’s Russia reset ideas alarming allies, many in US:  “Donald Trump’s flurry of offhand remarks and abrupt zingers on Russia — praising Vladimir Putin, dismissing NATO — have jolted the world, not to mention the U.S. presidential campaign. With Russia’s behavior rattling nerves in the U.S. and abroad, the Republican presidential nominee is accused of cozying up to a ‘dictator.’ Of threatening the very underpinnings of America’s relationship with Europe. And of naivete.”

Bloomberg: Trump’s NATO Skepticism Raises Alarm for Allies Near Russia: “Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump sent alarm rippling through Eastern Europe after he said the U.S. would only defend NATO states attacked by Russia if those nations “have fulfilled their obligations to us,” his strongest comments to date on the military alliance’s future if he enters the White House.”


Washington Post: Republicans are among a new list of foreign policy experts denouncing Trump: “Several Republicans are among a group of former cabinet officers, senior officials and career military officers who denounced Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Thursday, calling his recent remarks on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Russia ‘disgraceful.’”

New York Times: 50 G.O.P. Officials Warn Donald Trump Would Put Nation’s Security ‘at Risk’: “Many of those signing it had declined to add their names to the letter released in March. But a number said in recent interviews that they changed their minds once they heard Mr. Trump invite Russia to hack Mrs. Clinton’s email server — a sarcastic remark, he said later — and say that he would check to see how much NATO members contributed to the alliance before sending forces to help stave off a Russian attack. They viewed Mr. Trump’s comments on NATO as an abandonment of America’s most significant alliance relationship.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham on Trump’s NATO comments: “Statements like these make the world more dangerous and the United States less safe. If Mr. Trump is serious about wanting to be commander-in-chief he needs to better understand the job which is to provide leadership for the United States and the free world…. I’m 100 percent certain how Russian President Putin feels — he’s a very happy man.”

Sen. Tom Cotton: “Vladimir Putin was a KGB spy and he never got over that. He does not have America’s best interests at heart and he does not have any American interests at heart. I suspect, after this week, when Donald Trump is the nominee and he begins to receive classified briefings, similar briefings to what I receive as a member of the Intelligence Committee, he may have a different perspective on Vladimir Putin and what Russia is doing to America’s interests and allies in Europe and the Middle East and Asia.”

BuzzFeed“Earlier this month, [Rep. Adam] Kinzinger said he could not vote for Trump after the GOP nominee said that the US did not need to come to the defense of NATO members if attacked. This week, he called for an investigation into Trump and his campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, for alleged ties to Russia. ‘There’s been this affection in this campaign for Russia and Vladimir Putin, so in my thought, I have concerns for the chief advisor of Donald Trump having done work for a pro-Russian government in Ukraine,’ Kinzinger said on CNN this week.

TIME: GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan and other Republicans on Wednesday denounced Russia’s potential involvement in the U.S. presidential election without specifically criticizing GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, who earlier called on Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails. ‘Russia is a global menace led by a devious thug. Putin should stay out of this election,’ said Brendan Buck, spokesman for Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, in an email.”

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Trump’s NATO comments: “I think he’s wrong on that.”

Politico: Trump’s competitors don’t want Putin’s approval: “Republican presidential candidates trailing Donald Trump are making it clear they don’t want the same endorsement the billionaire businessman and entertainer got from Russian President Vladimir Putin…. No thanks, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said in so many words on the Sunday political talk shows. Even Rick Perry, the former Texas governor and GOP presidential candidate, weighed in.”

Huffington Post: GOP Figures Disgusted By Trump Urging Russian Cyberattack: “[I]f any of his various statements at the press conference really stood out, it was probably the part where he called for state-sponsored Russian hackers to conduct cyber espionage on the United States for his electoral benefit… Inboden was hardly alone in registering his disgust with Trump. GOP strategist Stuart Stevens, who advised Mitt Romney, the party’s nominee in 2012, suggested that Trump’s remarks would have merited an immediate court-martial if they’d been made by anyone answering to the commander in chief”

American Voters:

Washington Post: Russian meddling in U.S. election backfiring on Putin, hurting Trump: “Those voters [of Eastern European descent] for whom McCain fought so hard in 2008 are still out there. They normally would be very inclined to vote for someone like Trump — on paper, they look just like his core supporters — but Putin’s clear preference for him over Clinton (combined with Trump’s naiveté on all things Russia) gives them great pause.”

New York Times: Ukrainian-Americans, Long Fond of the G.O.P., Greet Donald Trump With Despair: “Ukrainian-Americans have felt at home in the Republican Party since Franklin D. Roosevelt and Stalin divided control of Europe at Yalta. But across the United States — and especially in swing state Ohio, where Mr. Trump became the party’s nominee — they are watching the 2016 presidential race with a mix of confusion and fear. ‘The party’s dead as far as I’m concerned,’ Mr. Szmagala declared.”

Former George W. Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen: Trump’s Putin bromance is driving away Eastern European-American voters: “In July, during the Republican convention, I pointed out here that Donald Trump’s questioning whether he would come to the defense of Central and Eastern European countries if Russia attacked them – and Trump’s changing the GOP platform to strip out the provision of defensive weapons to Ukraine – could cost him millions of once-solid Republican votes in key swing states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Florida.”

Donald Trump Supported the Iraq War, No Matter How Many Times He Claims Otherwise

This completely bogus Trump claim has been fact checked so many times it’s hard to believe we still need to say this, but one more time can’t hurt: Donald Trump supported the Iraq War before it started. In fact, in 2002, Trump said he supported invading Iraq. While Hillary Clinton has clearly stated that her vote was a mistake, Donald Trump continues to lie about his own stance on the war nearly every time he opens his mouth.

Here’s what Trump himself has said on the matter:

Donald Trump, 2000: “I’m no warmonger. But the fact is, if we decide a strike against Iraq is necessary, it is madness not to carry the mission to its conclusion.”

BuzzFeed: In 2002, Donald Trump Said He Supported Invading Iraq

In a 2002 interview with Howard Stern, Donald Trump said he supported an Iraq invasion. In the interview, which took place on Sept. 11, 2002, Stern asked Trump directly if he was for invading Iraq. “Yeah, I guess so,” Trump responded. “I wish the first time it was done correctly.”

The Hill: Trump day after Iraq invasion: It’s ‘a tremendous success’: “Republican primary front-runner Donald Trump claimed on the second day of Operation Iraqi Freedom that it appeared to be “a tremendous success from a military standpoint.” Speaking to Fox News’ Neil Cavuto on March 21, 2003, Trump predicted the war would continue to bolster Wall Street.

Bill O’Reilly: “All right, let’s stay in Iraq for a minute. You’re given this intelligence from five different agencies. You don’t move against this guy?”

Trump, 2004: “Perhaps, if I was given that… if that intelligence was actually given, perhaps.”

BuzzFeed: Trump In 2006: Clinton Should Be Forgiven For Iraq Vote “Based On Lies Given To Her”

Donald Trump is already going after Hillary Clinton for her vote to authorize the Iraq War in 2002, but in an interview in 2006, he said she should be forgiven because her vote was based on misinformation.

Maureen Dowd, New York Times: [Trump] thinks John McCain has lost the 2008 election by pushing to send more troops to Iraq but that Hillary should be forgiven for her “horrendous” vote to authorize the war. “Don’t forget that decision was based on lies given to her,” he says. “She’s very smart and has a major chance to be our next president.”

And here’s what reporters and fact checkers have to say:

BuzzFeed: There’s No Record Of Donald Trump Being Against The Iraq War Before It Started

An extensive BuzzFeed News review was unable to find any Trump statements on the Iraq War before the invasion in March 2003, but did find two statements he made the week the war started, one calling it “a mess” and one saying it would have a positive impact on the stock market.

PolitiFact: Donald Trump was not ‘loud and clear’ in Iraq War opposition

Trump often repeats this line, and we’ve rated a similar Trump claim Mostly False, because he didn’t appear to take any public position on the war until after the March 2003 invasion. In this more recent version of the statement, he also said he stated his opposition to the war “loud and clear.” But the public record of his positions is thin.

FactCheck.org: Donald Trump and the Iraq War

There is no evidence that we could find, however, that he spoke against the war before it started, although we did find he expressed early concerns about the cost and direction of the war a few months after it started.

New York Times: In Fact | Donald Trump Opposed Iraq War — but After It Started

Donald J. Trump took a moment to separate himself from his rivals by declaring that he had gone on the record with his opposition of the Iraq war some 11 years ago — in July 2004. The claim, however, left out the reality that his opposition came well after the war was already underway. The war began in March 2003.

FLASHBACK: Support For Libyan Intervention Was Widespread, Included Trump and Pence

Donald Trump and his allies love to attack Hillary Clinton over the Libyan intervention. Curiously, they never seem to mention that Trump himself supported it. Repeatedly. And on his own video blog. And his running mate, Mike Pence backed the intervention as well, publicly thanking then-Secretary Clinton for her efforts on Libya.

  • BuzzFeed: Trump Claims He Didn’t Support Libya Intervention — But He Did, On Video
  • Trump, 2011: “I can’t believe what our country is doing. Qaddafi in Libya is killing thousands of people…. But we have go in to save these lives; these people are being slaughtered like animals. It’s horrible what’s going on; it has to be stopped. We should do on a humanitarian basis, immediately go into Libya, knock this guy out very quickly, very surgically, very effectively, and save the lives.”
  • Trump, 2011: “[At] this point, if you don’t get rid of Gadhafi, it’s a major, major black eye for this country.”
  • BuzzFeed: Mike Pence Publicly Thanked Hillary Clinton In 2011 For Her Efforts On Libya. Pence: “I also want to thank you, specifically, for the efforts by the administration and your offices to further isolate Libya during a time of extraordinary tragedy in the streets, tragedy of which I think we’re probably only partially aware.

Donald Trump’s lies and hypocrisy aside, the reality is that in 2011, support for the Libyan intervention was widespread, at home and abroad. There was strong bipartisan support from U.S. leaders at home for the administration’s effort to impede Qadhafi’s brutality, and our closest NATO allies, partners in the region, and Libyan people were all making urgent calls for U.S. action.

Top Republicans were making calls for bold American leadership in this international crisis:

Feb. 22, 2011John McCain and Joe Lieberman: “The horrific situation in Libya demands more than just public condemnation; it requires strong international action. … Some Libyan diplomats have bravely called for a no-fly zone to stop the Qaddafi regime’s use of airpower to attack Libyan civilians.  We support this course of action.”

Feb. 24, 2011Marco Rubio: “We should immediately engage willing partners to limit the regime’s ability to wage war against its own citizens.  These measures could include (but are not limited to) pressing bordering nations to stop the flow of mercenaries into Libya, finding ways to restore severed communications, imposing a no-fly zone to protect civilians against aircraft attacks, and mobilizing a humanitarian relief effort.”

Feb. 28, 2011Lindsey Graham: “What I would suggest is that we really keep implementing U.N. sanctions on the economic side, on the travel side, go after assets. And a no fly zone would make a lot of sense to me.”

Feb. 28, 2011Susan Collins: “I do believe our allies may be able to join together with us to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya to help protect the people from Gadhafi,” she said. “Any actions that we take I believe should be in concert with our allies.”

March 1, 2011By unanimous consent, the Senate adopts a resolution urging the UN Security Council to take “further action to protect civilians in Libya from attack, including the possible imposition of a no-fly zone over Libyan territory.”

March 7, 2011Newt Gingrich: “Exercise a no-fly zone this evening, communicate to the Libyan military that Gadhafi was gone … All we have to say is that we think that slaughtering your own citizens is unacceptable and that we’re intervening. And we don’t have to send troops. All we have to do is suppress his air force…”

March 13, 2011John McCain: “First, the president [Barack Obama] should recognize Libya’s transitional national council, which is based in Benghazi but representative of communities across the country, as the sole legitimate governing authority of Libya, just as France has done.  Second, the president should take immediate steps to implement a no-fly zone in Libya with international support.”

March 30, 2011Marco Rubio, to Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid: “I am writing to seek your support for bringing a bi-partisan resolution to the Senate floor authorizing the President’s decision to participate in allied military action in Libya. Furthermore, this resolution should also state that removing Muammar Qaddafi from power is in our national interest and therefore should authorize the President to accomplish this goal. To that end, the resolution should urge the President to immediately recognize the Interim Transitional National Council as the legitimate government in Libya.”

NATO Allies and Regional Partners were ramping up their efforts to defend the Libyan people:

Feb. 23, 2011FranceThe Guardian: “Nicolas Sarkozy is leading the calls for a NATO-imposed no-fly zone to be enforced over Libya to ‘prevent the use of that country’s warplanes against [its] population.’ Sarkozy, the current president of the G8 and G20 economic forums, has also called for the European Union to impose sanctions against Libya and suggested that the assets of the family of the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, should be frozen.”

Feb. 27, 2011ItalyAssociated Press: “Italy has effectively suspended a treaty with Libya that includes a nonaggression clause, amid turmoil in the North African nation, the foreign minister said Sunday. The suspension removes a possible obstacle to Rome taking part in any peacekeeping operations in its former colony, or allowing the use of its military bases.”

Feb 28, 2011BritainPM David Cameron: “We must not tolerate this regime using military force against its own people. In that context I have asked the Ministry of Defence and the Chief of the Defence Staff to work with our allies on plans for a military no-fly zone. Mr Speaker, it is clear that this is an illegitimate regime that has lost the consent of its people. My message to Colonel Qadhafi is simple: Go now.”

March 10, 2011Libyan RebelsCNN: “The head of the interim government in eastern Libya pleaded Wednesday for the international community to move quickly to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, declaring that any delay would result in more casualties. ‘It has to be immediate action,’ Mustafa Abdul-Jalil told CNN in an exclusive interview in this eastern opposition stronghold. ‘The longer the situation carries on, the more blood is shed. That’s the message that we want to send to the international community. They have to live up to their responsibility with regards to this.’”

March 12, 2011Arab StatesNew York Times: “The Arab League asked the United Nations Security Council on Saturday to impose a no-flight zone over Libya in hopes of halting Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s attacks on his own people, providing the rebels a tincture of hope even as they were driven back from a long stretch of road and towns they had captured in the three-week war. The extraordinary move by the 22-nation bloc — an extremely rare invitation for Western military forces on Arab territory — increases the pressure on the Obama administration…”

Trump: Generals Have Been ‘Reduced to Rubble’

Donald Trump wants to be Commander-in-Chief, but he continuously insults and disrespects our United States’ military on the campaign trail – and even before. Just now, he said our generals have been “reduced to rubble.”

At a rally in Urbandale, IA he said, “so our military is weak.” [Urbandale IA, 1/15/16]

At a rally in Harrington, DE he said, “the military is in shambles.” [Harrington DE, 4/22/16]

At a rally in Westfield, IN he said, “we don’t win with our military.” [Westfield, IN, 7/12/16]

At a rally in Wilmington, NC he said, “our military is depleted… we can’t beat ISIS.” [Wilmington, NC 8/9/16]

Trump has called the United States’ military a disaster, said “the generals aren’t doing so well” and proclaimed he knew more about ISIS than the generals do.

Trump’s alarming rhetoric goes all the way back to the Reagan Administration, when Trump took out ads saying, “the world is laughing at America’s politicians as we protect ships we don’t own, carrying oil we don’t need, destined for allies who won’t help.”

This type of denigration of our our military has been called out left and right, from political leaders to those who serve and worry about what a Donald Trump presidency would mean for the military:

Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: “At no time in my career have I been more confident than this instant in saying we have the most powerful military on the face of the planet.”

Sen. Tim Kaine: “Trump has been going around saying repeatedly the American military is a disaster. That’s a direct quote…[T]here’s 1.6 million people who serve in the military of this country voluntarily during a time of war, and one of them is one of my kids When I hear Donald Trump say the American military is a disaster, I want to go through the screen and shake the guy…We do not need a commander in chief who is going to talk about our troops with disrespect and contempt. We ought to have a commander in chief who talks about our troops with respect and gratitude. That’s why Secretary Clinton is down in Hampton today meeting with veterans and military families.”

An Open Letter On Donald Trump From GOP National Security Leaders: “Recognizing as we do, the conditions in American politics that have contributed to his popularity, we nonetheless are obligated to state our core objections clearly: His vision of American influence and power in the world is wildly inconsistent and unmoored in principle. He swings from isolationism to military adventurism within the space of one sentence. His advocacy for aggressively waging trade wars is a recipe for economic disaster in a globally connected world. His embrace of the expansive use of torture is inexcusable.”

Reuters: Trump’s ‘America first’ speech alarms U.S. allies

Slate: Current, Former Soldiers Say Trump Would Be an Epic Disaster as Commander in Chief

It is understandable that Trump is confused about all of this. After all, it doesn’t sounds like he’s consulting with many experts about the state of our military, he just has the TV on.

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