While her colleague Matt Lauer was asking Donald Trump easy questions and getting ripped online for hectoring Hillary Clinton, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow’s contribution to the “Commander-in-Chief forum” on Wednesday actually accomplished the event’s goal — putting veterans’ concerns in this year’s presidential election front-and-center.
“The reality is that we need to drill deeper. We need follow-up questions, right?” said Paul Rieckhoff, CEO of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. “This is exactly the kind of follow-up question we needed.”
Rieckhoff’s group hosted the forum, and Maddow’s telecast veered away from typical election fare to feature veterans like one he identified as Kristen, who said she was concerned about Trump’s failure to address equality within the US military.
Kristen, who served three tours of duty in Afghanistan, said that a key part of US operations in that country depended on troops who could connect with local communities — several of whom are women or transgender service members, or who come from diverse religious backgrounds.
“I wasn’t assured that he would put policies in place to ensure a level playing field for all troops who can meet the standards and serve our nation in the roles that we need them to,” she said of Trump.
“By specifying Trump there, do you feel like you are hearing things that you like more from Clinton on that?” Maddow asked. “Or are you not hearing anything from either of them on that?”
Kristen explained that Trump “was not referencing any policy that I have heard,” and mentioned the Military Justice Improvement Act, which was introduced by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) three years ago as a measure to address sexual assaults within the military by shifting them to the purview of independent investigators.
“I didn’t hear anything that has been part of the conversation over the last several years,” Kristen said to Maddow.
Watch the discussion, as aired on Wednesday, below.
Trump approves of North Korea missile tests: ‘I have no problem’ because they’re just ‘short-range missiles’
On Thursday, in conversation with reporters, President Donald Trump said that he had 'no problem' with North Korea's new round of missile tests.
"Short-range missiles, we never made an agreement on that," said Trump. "I have no problem, we'll see what happens, but these are short-range missiles. They're very standard."
The thought that short-range missiles would still be capable of hitting our allies in the region, like South Korea and Japan, does not seem to have occurred to him.
Trump says he has "no problem" with North Korea testing missiles because they are just "short-range missiles" that are "very standard." pic.twitter.com/fdKtQ6yrBE
Russian Twitter propaganda predicted 2016 US election polls
But one conclusion was unequivocal: Russia unleashed an extensive campaign of fake news and disinformation on social media with the aim of distorting U.S. public opinion, sowing discord and swinging the election in favor of the Republican candidate Donald Trump.
Beto O’Rourke calls for a ‘war tax’ in release of health care plan for veterans
The Democratic presidential candidate uses his eighth policy announcement to focus on an area that he prioritized in Congress.
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke on Monday morning released a plan to improve the lives of veterans, returning to an area of priority during his time in the U.S. House for his latest 2020 policy rollout.
In keeping with measures he supported in Congress, the plan calls for a "responsible end" to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — reinvesting $1 out of every $2 saved in veterans programs — and the creation of a Veterans Health Care Trust Fund for each future war. The fund would be paid for by a "war tax" on households without service members or veterans.