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Participants express anger and disappointment at the disrespect of military members

On Tuesday, Sept. 15, Colorado Senate President Leroy Garcia hosted a roundtable discussion with local veterans in response to Donald Trump’s disparaging comments regarding generals, veterans, and the military at large.

Participants in the roundtable included former Army Ranger and current Colorado Congressman Jason Crow, Air Force retiree Rep. Tom Sullivan, candidate for State House and Army veteran David Ortiz, retired Air Force medic Gina Hill, USMC veteran Alex Ferencz, and Navy veteran Debbie Willhite.

The group shared how, as former members of the armed forces, President Trump’s remarks affected them. They then took questions from veterans in the audience and discussed the importance of the coming election.

“I am shocked and appalled by the deep disregard and disrespect Trump has shown for our military,” said President Garcia, D-Pueblo. “How can our service members entrust their lives to a man who befriends dictators, pardons war criminals, and demonstrates such blatant disdain for the sacrifices of our veterans? As Commander in Chief, this betrayal of our armed forces cuts particularly deep.”

Over the years Trump has repeatedly made comments on-the-record, lambasting members of the military. One of the first, most notable instances of this was when Trump mocked late the Republican Senator John McCain – who was captured, held for more than five years, and tortured by North Vietnamese forces during the Vietnam War – saying he liked people who “weren’t captured” and aren’t “losers.”

Then, most recently, in the devastating revelations exposed by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Bob Woodward, President Trump called his generals serving under his command a “bunch of p—ies.”

“Trump doesn’t deserve to sit in the Oval Office. Not only does he use servicemen and women as props for his own political gain, but he dishonors their sacrifice at every turn. As a Marine combat veteran, it makes me sick,” said Garcia.

Just a few months ago, President Trump was at the center of another military controversy when it was discovered that he had done nothing in response to Russia offering bounties on American troops in Afghanistan – a fact that enraged many service members and shocked the military community across the country.

“I am so tired of watching the leader of our nation be nothing but performatively patriotic,” said Garcia. “Trump loves military parades and quoting ‘Patton’ but continually fails to protect, support, and honor the sacrifice our troops make every day. It’s simply un-American, and it’s a disgrace.”

Trump has also received sharp criticism for his intervention in military disciplinary action – pardoning convicted war criminals against the objections of the people they served with, who called them “deranged” and “freaking evil”.

To watch the full roundtable discussion, click here.