Child President

Report: Trump Gaslights Vietnam Vets About Agent Orange

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The Daily Beast has a story on Trump arguing with a group of Vietnam veterans about the movie Apocalypse Now, but what's important is the reason why he argued with them about it.

Veterans were understandably upset when Trump appointed Omarosa Manigault-Newman as a liaison to veterans last year so, in response, Trump met with a group of veterans at the White House where the argument began.

Among the group of veterans was Rick Weidman, co-founder of Vietnam Veterans of America, who asked Trump to expand the number of Vietnam veterans eligible for benefits because of their exposure to Agent Orange during the war.

Trump then gaslit the group of veterans by insisting that he had already done that.

Trump responded by saying, “That’s taken care of,” according to people in the room.

His reply puzzled the group.

Attendees began explaining to the president that the VA had not made enough progress on the issue at all, to which Trump responded by abruptly derailing the meeting and asking the attendees if Agent Orange was “that stuff from that movie.”

He did not initially name the film he was referencing, but it quickly became clear as Trump kept rambling that he was referring to the classic 1979 Francis Ford Coppola epic Apocalypse Now, and specifically the famous helicopter attack scene set to the “Ride of the Valkyries.”

Source present at the time tell The Daily Beast that multiple people—including Vietnam War veterans—chimed in to inform the president that the Apocalypse Now set piece he was talking about showcased the U.S. military using napalm, not Agent Orange.

Trump refused to accept that he was mistaken and proceeded to say things like, “no, I think it’s that stuff from that movie.”

In a single moment, Trump clearly demonstrated that he doesn't even know what Agent Orange is after telling the group of veterans that he has "taken care of it." And this was in a room full of veterans who actually fought in the war and know full well what the VA has or hasn't done for them.

Trump never served in the war, of course. He received multiple deferments and once said his "personal Vietnam" was dodging sexually transmitted diseases in the 1980s.

Even in a sea of idiotic and insensitive Trump moments, this manages to stand out.

  • “M”

    Cadet Bone Spurs. Like he knows.

  • muselet

    “No, I think it’s that stuff from that movie.”

    JFC, what a arsehole. Even if his movie reference had been accurate, that would have been a colossally inappropriate thing to say.

    I’m only surprised he didn’t wear the Purple Heart a veteran gave him during the campaign, and ask the veterans in the meeting, “Do you have one of these, too?”


  • Aynwrong

    I hate to say it, but veterans that voted for Trump got what they voted for every bit as much as steel workers, coal miners, soy bean farmers and the Carrier plant workers that voted for Trump. They were lied to and they got taken for a ride. Big league.

    If it’s true that the majority of veterans vote Republican and lean to the right and can still do so even after this ignorant, self serving scumbag has used and discarded them so spectacularly so publicly so often then it at least has the benefit of proving that 99.99999% of the rhetoric we hear about liberals not respecting the troops is clearly bullshit.

  • Nefercat

    “Trump responded by saying, “That’s taken care of,” according to people in the room. His reply puzzled the group.”
    Apparently they did not realize (at the time, hopefully they know better now) that ALL he does, ALL he has done for his entire worthless, shitty life, is bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit.

    They asked a question, he said whatever would make him look good at that moment with no intent of following through because those vets did. not. matter. No one matters to trump except trump. “That’s taken care of” he said. So powerful, so take charge, so efficient, so caring. So much bullshit.

    Everything that comes out of his mouth just adds to a massive pile of steaming, slippery, stinking bullshit.

  • gescove

    Trump is the poster child for the Dunning-Kruger effect.