CONCORD, N.H. – On Thursday, the Atlantic broke the story that President Donald Trump reportedly referred to members of the U.S. military who died in World War I as “losers” and “suckers” during a trip to France in 2018. On Friday, the New Hampshire Democratic Party responded with a collection of New Hampshire veterans and local elected officials sharing their disgust at the allegations.
Beginning with New Hampshire House Speaker Steve Shurtleff (D-Concord), a veteran of the Vietnam War, there was what could only be described as a stream of outrage at the president’s alleged statements, which came to the Atlantic second-hand through sources described as members of the president’s senior staff.
“I can’t tell you the level of anger and hatred I have for him for what he said about these brave, brave men and women,” said Bill Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democratic National Committeeman and Captain in the U.S. Army from 1965 to 1969.
From here in Manchester, Democratic State Senator Lou Allesandro saw the alleged statements as a clear dichotomy between Trump and Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden, whose son Beau Biden served in Iraq.
“The fact that the current administration is so negative in their approach to veterans, it’s very disconcerting and very disheartening. It’s very disheartening for me who has served with many people in defense of this country,” said D’Allesandro, a retired member of the U.S. Marine Corps. “Joe Biden is a man of integrity, Joe Biden is a man who will speak for the military, will defend the military, but most of all, he will give character and credibility to this nation. This nation must stand for something and I think at this point in time our world is in disarray and is in dismay for what the United States really stands for.”
Eric Golnick, a Naval Veteran and CEO of Manchester-based VFR Healthcare, an organization that provides healthcare for veterans, said that the alleged statements took him to a level of “frustration and rage.”
For Golnick, the 20 suicides of veterans per day as well the difficulties veterans have faced recently with COVID-19 are only exasperated by alleged statements like these as well as Trump’s past attacks on Gold Star Families.
“For us to hear things like that, like these statements, and for folks dealing with moral injury, it’s damaging. There’s no other better word to say about that, it’s a damaging thing,” he said.
Trump responded on Twitter on Friday morning calling these statements and similar alleged statements against former U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) as false.