Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has offended just about every demographic in the United States at one point or another, and on Tuesday evening he managed to say something offensive about a group whose support he's consistently courted: U.S. veterans.
During a rally on Tuesday, Trump talked about the disastrous effort to rebuild Iraq after the American invasion in 2003 and raised some eyebrows when he talked about the role American soldiers played in the debacle.
"Iraq, crooked as hell. How about bringing baskets of money — millions and millions of dollars — and handing it out?" Trump said at an evening rally. "I want to know who were the soldiers that had that job, because I think they’re living very well right now, whoever they may be."
The Trump campaign clarified that he was referred to Iraqi soldiers who stole money, although this claim makes no sense since it was American troops who were charged with dispersing funds to rebuild the country, as a series of tweets posted by Iraq War veteran Corbin Reiff makes clear.
Let's start at the beginning and work our way down:
I rarely discuss politics on this platform, but yesterday, the Republican nominee for President said something that compels me to speak out.— Corbin Reiff (@Corbin Reiff)1465997769.0
When I deployed to Iraq in 2009 I was made Non Commissioned Officer in Charge of Foreign Claims for the entirety of Western Baghdad.— Corbin Reiff (@Corbin Reiff)1465997890.0
My job for a whole year was to assess damage to Iraqi citizen’s property, and person and compensate them monetarily.— Corbin Reiff (@Corbin Reiff)1465998021.0
Or we killed someone in the line of fire, it was my job to make it right.— Corbin Reiff (@Corbin Reiff)1465998143.0
The job was tough, almost impossible, but it was the just thing to do and helped build a bridge of trust between us and the citizenry.— Corbin Reiff (@Corbin Reiff)1465998303.0
There was always more to do, and the stack of files and faces never dwindled. I got half a day off every two weeks.— Corbin Reiff (@Corbin Reiff)1465998423.0
Every mission out into the city carried with it tremendous risk, but we had a job to do, and forcibly put that out of our minds.— Corbin Reiff (@Corbin Reiff)1465998561.0
As a result, we instantly became a high value target for insurgents who wanted to relieve us of said cash at one of our weekly gatherings.— Corbin Reiff (@Corbin Reiff)1465998696.0
“How about bringing baskets of money — millions and millions of dollars — and handing it out?”— Corbin Reiff (@Corbin Reiff)1465998860.0
I am living well right now - some student loan debt aside - but not because I pocketed the hard-earned taxpayer money that I was entrusted.— Corbin Reiff (@Corbin Reiff)1465998955.0
The idea that Trump would call out the integrity of those who answered the call of service and deployed to a war zone is repellant.— Corbin Reiff (@Corbin Reiff)1465999076.0
Don’t believe him when he says he’s for Veterans. It's lip service entirely.— Corbin Reiff (@Corbin Reiff)1465999258.0
In Trump's defense, there were some soldiers who were convicted of swiping money intended for Iraqi reconstruction, as this Washington Post report makes clear. All the same, the soldiers who actually skimmed reconstruction resources were a tiny minority of all the American troops who were charged with distributing funds.
Similarly, the number of Muslims who support ISIS is also a tiny minority of the Muslim population as a whole, but this doesn't stop Trump from tarring "the Muslims" as being collectively complicit in all terrorist activities.
It's not hard to see why someone who thinks like this ends up offending a lot of people, is it?