Donald Trump traveled to Missouri today to address the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The VFW said, “Today we continue a longstanding VFW tradition to provide our nation’s commander-in-chief w/ the opportunity to address America’s largest & oldest major war veterans’ org — especially important during a time of war and instability abroad & internal challenges at home.” Instead, it turned into a typical Trump campaign rally. CNN reports:
“The speech amounted to a typical political stump speech for Trump, all except for the setting. Instead of a political rally draped in campaign signage, Trump was addressing the annual convention of the nonpartisan Veterans of Foreign Wars, which invites the sitting US president every year — regardless of party — to address its members. Past US presidents have typically focused their remarks at the annual veteran’s event on policy issues, leaving little room for partisan political attacks or political endorsements.”
Trump may not have been playing to his typical crowd though. The VFW hasn’t always supported Trump. As ABC reports they once called his comments “despicable,” taking him to task for things he said about John McCain, the Khan family, and even his own draft dodging.
There are reports that the President was even booed a few times today. What might be even more concerning to Trump though is the crowd size.
Oof. Yesterday VFW announced last-minute that Trump's speech was being moved out of the convention center and into the auditorium. Appears they couldn't fill the auditorium, either. https://t.co/JptvT0Z0Gz
— Christina Wilkie (@christinawilkie) July 24, 2018
At one point Trump went with his usual fake news storyline. While he did get a lot of cheers, it apparently didn’t go over well with everyone. Many of the veterans in the room rely on reporters to tell their stories.
Not all veterans of foreign wars hate the "fake news." One vet just came up to me after Trump's speech to shake my hand, thank me for my reporting and whispered, "I have one question: How do you put up with this bullsh– every day?" https://t.co/F39jBJBzXz
— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) July 24, 2018
Trump has folks booing the media covering the VFW convention.
You won’t meet a group that cares more about its subject matter.
— Kelly Kennedy (@KellySKennedy) July 24, 2018
I've been covering the Department of Veterans Affairs for years as a reporter.
I've covered US troops in combat zones.
Not Fake News https://t.co/vufiveRkl1
— Ben Kesling (@bkesling) July 24, 2018
If you're a veteran and you're booing @LeoShane, you're doing it wrong. You want him on that wall. You need him on that wall. The @VFWHQ should say if the organization supports Trump's attacks on the media or not. https://t.co/WtsQ3p55vK
— Kevin Baron (@DefenseBaron) July 24, 2018
Trump also wasn’t subtle about gas lighting this crowd. He made it clear even if they see something with their own eyes and hear it with their own ears they shouldn’t believe it.
"Just remember, what you are seeing and what you are reading is not what's happening" Trump says at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention. pic.twitter.com/NWFsB8QV2g
— Vera Bergengruen (@VeraMBergen) July 24, 2018
“The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”
—George Orwell https://t.co/OhqKrU0PBE
— David Priess (@DavidPriess) July 24, 2018
The VFW apparently wasn’t happy with how things unfolded either.
NEW: The VFW has issued a statement saying it is "disappointed" with audience members who booed and heckled members of the press during the president's speech today –> pic.twitter.com/oiu69AZ95G
— Alex Mallin (@alex_mallin) July 24, 2018