President Trump on Wednesday downplayed the injuries suffered by U.S. soldiers following retaliatory Iranian missile strikes on a military base in Iraq earlier this month.
Speaking to reporters at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Trump was asked why he has repeatedly said no Americans were hurt in the strikes despite reports that 11 U.S. service members were airlifted for medical reasons. The president said he was told the soldiers had "headaches" and he doesn't consider the injuries to be as serious as others he's seen in the past, such as the loss of limbs.
The comment quickly stirred up some backlash — CNN's Chris Cillizza called Trump's description of the injuries "problematic" considering some of the patients are still being evaluated. He also brought up Trump's personal history which includes five deferments from serving in the Vietnam War, four of which were the result of bone spurs in his heels.
The president was also chastised by Mark Hertling, a retired Army officer who served as the commanding general of the U.S. Army Europe and the Seventh Army. Hertling said that blasts like the one in Iraq can result in various long-term effects, some of them quite severe. Trump, he said, was "dangerously wrong" in his dismissal. Tim O'Donnell
No longer an "active duty commander," I did spend 3+ yrs commanding large organizations & was personally subjected to multiple IED blasts. These can be serious injuries, they can contribute to death, neurological and psych disorders...and POTUS comment is dangerously wrong. https://t.co/dfVyrwj4Qt