Something Embarrassing Happened When Donald Trump Made 'Veterans For Trump'

Source: AP
Source: AP

When billionaire Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump used July's Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa to attack former prisoner of war Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) service record by belittling the fact that he was shot down and captured in Vietnam, he might have anticipated that his words might anger pro-military Republicans.

Trump fired back by claiming he also had the support of former service members as well, announcing the creation of new group called Veterans For Trump. But while the people listed on the campaign's web site do appear to be veterans, three separate veterans contacted by The Guardian claim that they are not "for Trump."

Whoops.

"I don't know anything about it," 88-year-old World War II veteran Ernie Fusi told the paper. "I haven't told anyone I want to get in on that. I'm not going to do any campaigning ... I don't like it, 'cause I haven't given anyone permission to send my name around."

Trump on the campaign trail in Iowa.
Source: 
Charlie Neibergall/AP

Another veteran from Laconia, New Hampshire, Donnie Richards, added "I'm not doing that. I'm just a regular citizen who hasn't made up his mind yet who I'm voting for."

Of the 51 veterans on the list, The Guardian reached a total of three who appeared to have no idea why their names were included. The Trump campaign told the paper it had "written confirmation of support from each of the individuals listed as part of the New Hampshire Veterans Coalition."

Astroturfing, the practice of faking genuine grassroots support for a candidate or issue, is far from new in American politics. But Trump has deployed the tactic rather conspicuously.

The Hollywood Reporter wrote in June that a New York firm named Extra Mile Casting linked to the official Trump campaign likely paid actors $50 to attend his opening presidential announcement at the lavishly decorated Trump Tower. Activist  Angelo Carusone pointed to a CPAC 2013 speech Trump gave to a nearly-empty room as evidence that his campaign audiences are inflated.

Don't expect the exposé to phase Trump much - he's already gone well into offense mode on the veterans controversy, attacking McCain's record on the issue as weak and insisting that he has letters from real service members showing their support.

h/t The Guardian

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Tom McKay

Tom is a staff writer at Mic, covering national politics, media, policing and the war on drugs. He is based in New York and can be reached at tmckay@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Will Justice Anthony Kennedy retire at end of Supreme Court term? Here's what we know.

Rumors that the 80-year-old swing justice may leave the bench are fueling fear of a second Trump pick on the nation's high court.

3 states and D.C. allow same flammable building materials behind Grenfell Tower fire

The causes of London's Grenfell Tower are similar to the justifications used to waive fire regulations in the U.S.

New Jersey bill would require kids to be taught how to interact with police

Students from kindergarten through 12th grade would receive the education.

UK Parliament hit with cyberattack

Members of Parliament had difficulty accessing their emails Saturday in the wake of the attack.

Istanbul LGBT pride march banned by government for safety concerns

A right-wing nationalist group has vowed to stop the protest.

Compounds seized by US in December reportedly contained material useful in Russia probe

The Trump administration has reportedly been considering returning the New York and Maryland compounds to Russia.

Will Justice Anthony Kennedy retire at end of Supreme Court term? Here's what we know.

Rumors that the 80-year-old swing justice may leave the bench are fueling fear of a second Trump pick on the nation's high court.

3 states and D.C. allow same flammable building materials behind Grenfell Tower fire

The causes of London's Grenfell Tower are similar to the justifications used to waive fire regulations in the U.S.

New Jersey bill would require kids to be taught how to interact with police

Students from kindergarten through 12th grade would receive the education.

UK Parliament hit with cyberattack

Members of Parliament had difficulty accessing their emails Saturday in the wake of the attack.

Istanbul LGBT pride march banned by government for safety concerns

A right-wing nationalist group has vowed to stop the protest.

Compounds seized by US in December reportedly contained material useful in Russia probe

The Trump administration has reportedly been considering returning the New York and Maryland compounds to Russia.