6 WTF Moments From The Commander-In-Chief Forum

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during the Commander in Chief Forum hosted by NBC, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016, in New York.
AP photo by Evan Vucci

On Wednesday night, presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump addressed an audience of veterans during NBC’s Commander-in-Chief Forum. Moderated by NBC’s Matt Lauer, each presidential candidate answered questions from both Lauer and the audience on national security, foreign policy, and their stances on military and veterans issues. The town hall event, which was hosted by Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City, offered a preview of things to come with the debates. There were also several times when you just had to ask, “what the fuck?”


Here are six “what the fuck” moments elicited from both candidates.

1. Hillary Clinton condescendingly talked at an audience member who asked the first question of the night. The retired naval flight officer asked how can she expect those have held security clearance to have any confidence in her leadership when she “clearly corrupted our national security.” 

2. Clinton cut off Lauer and insisted on finishing her answer to his question on whether she would use military intervention if Iran cheated on the nuclear deal.

3. Clinton said, “We are not putting ground troops into Iraq ever again and we're not putting ground troops into Syria.” However, there are currently more than 5,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, and approximately 300 in Syria currently training, advising, and assisting Iraqi forces and Syrian opposition fighters battling ISIS.   

4. Trump suggested that, as president, he might fire some of the top generals now running the military. Trump said that when he seeks military generals’ advice on how to defeat ISIS “they’d probably be different generals, to be honest with you.”

5. Trump wrongly corrected a female veteran who accurately referenced that 20 veterans are dying by suicide every day. “It’s actually 22,” he said.

6. Trump defended his 2013 tweet that 26,000 sexual assaults and 238 convictions in the military is what you get when you stick men and women together. He also said, "The best thing we can do is set up a court system within the military. ... Right now the court system practically doesn’t exist.”

Army recruiters hold a swearing-in ceremony for over 40 of Arkansas' Future Soldiers at the Arkansas State Capital Building. (U.S. Army/Amber Osei)

Though the Army has yet to actually set an official recruiting goal for this year, leaders are confident they're going to bring in more soldiers than last year.

Maj. Gen. Frank Muth, head of Army Recruiting Command, told reporters on Wednesday that the Army was currently 2,226 contracts ahead of where it was in 2019.

"I will just tell you that this time last year we were in the red, and now we're in the green which is — the momentum's there and we see it continuing throughout the end of the year," Muth said, adding that the service hit recruiting numbers in February that haven't been hit during that month since 2014.

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(U.S. Marine Corps photo)

Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

We are women veterans who have served in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. Our service – as aviators, ship drivers, intelligence analysts, engineers, professors, and diplomats — spans decades. We have served in times of peace and war, separated from our families and loved ones. We are proud of our accomplishments, particularly as many were earned while immersed in a military culture that often ignores and demeans women's contributions. We are veterans.

Yet we recognize that as we grew as leaders over time, we often failed to challenge or even question this culture. It took decades for us to recognize that our individual successes came despite this culture and the damage it caused us and the women who follow in our footsteps. The easier course has always been to tolerate insulting, discriminatory, and harmful behavior toward women veterans and service members and to cling to the idea that 'a few bad apples' do not reflect the attitudes of the whole.

Recent allegations that Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie allegedly sought to intentionally discredit a female veteran who reported a sexual assault at a VA medical center allow no such pretense.

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In this June 16, 2018 photo, Taliban fighters greet residents in the Surkhroad district of Nangarhar province, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

KABUL/WASHINGTON/PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - The United States and the Taliban will sign an agreement on Feb. 29 at the end of a week long period of violence reduction in Afghanistan, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Taliban said on Friday.

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A U.S. Army UH-60L Black Hawk crew chief with the New Jersey National Guard's 1-171st General Support Aviation Battalion stands for a portrait at the Army Aviation Support Facility on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., Feb. 3, 2020 (Air National Guard photo / Master Sgt. Matt Hecht)

Active-duty service members, Reservists and National Guard members often serve side-by-side performing highly skilled and dangerous jobs, such as parachuting, explosives demolition and flight deck operations.

Reservists and Guard members are required to undergo the same training as specialized active-duty troops, and they face the same risks. Yet the extra incentive pay they receive for their work — called hazardous duty incentive pay — is merely a fraction of what their active-duty counterparts receive for performing the same job.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers, led by U.S. Rep. Andy Kim, D-3 of Moorestown, are partnering on legislation to correct the inequity. Known as the Guard and Reserve Hazard Duty Pay Equity Act, the bill seeks to standardize payment of hazardous duty incentive pay for all members of the armed services, including Reserve and National Guard components.

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A screen grab from a YouTube video shows Marines being arrested during formation at Camp Pendleton in July, 2019. (Screen capture)

Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Another Marine was hit with jail time and a bad-conduct discharge in connection with a slew of arrests made last summer over suspicions that members of a California-based infantry battalion were transporting people who'd crossed into the U.S. illegally.

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