Speed Reads

campaign 2016

Clinton, Trump speak directly to veterans during Commander-in-Chief Forum

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump spoke to veterans and military voters Wednesday night during the Commander-in-Chief Forum in New York City, sponsored by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America organization and moderated by Today host Matt Lauer.

Each nominee had 30 minutes to answer questions from the audience, with Clinton going first. She said a commander-in-chief must have "steadiness mixed with strength," and has to be someone who "listens and evaluates what is told to him or her." Clinton wants to improve mental health care for veterans and reform the VA, she said, and do more about drug and alcohol addiction. She also promised to not put ground troops into Iraq "ever again" and to defeat ISIS "without ever committing ground troops."

Trump said he has "good judgment" and knows "what's going on" because he's "called so many of the shots." Under President Obama, generals have been "reduced to rubble" and are an "embarrassment," Trump said, and he indicated he would replace most of them. He told one veteran that if an undocumented person wants to serve in the military, it is a "very special circumstance," and when asked about sexual assault in the military, Trump said the "best thing we can do" is "set up a court system within the military." He also continued his claim that he has always been "totally against the war in Iraq," and said the U.S. shouldn't have left the country without taking oil. Regarding Russia's Vladimir Putin, Trump said if he "says great things about me, I'm going to say great things about him." You can watch that exchange below. Catherine Garcia