Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke to thousands of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) members in Charlotte Tuesday morning, a day after Democrat Hillary Clinton addressed the group.
“Our debt to you is eternal,” Trump said to the veterans, shortly after his introduction around 9:40 a.m.
Indiana Governor Mike Pence, Trump’s running mate and father to a United States marine, took stage for a brief moment. “Donald Trump will bring leadership for this nation. Our military is too small and he will rebuild it. Our VA is broken and this builder will fix it,” Pence said.
Trump addressed change for the veterans and change within our “rigged” system. “It’s rigged against the veterans,” Trump said, promising the vets, “There will be no more five-day waits in line.” He appeared bothered when talking about veterans dying while waiting for treatment.
Trump knocked politicians, saying, “All talk, no action. That’s what I call politicians. We can’t fix a rigged system by electing the people who rigged it.”
The next jab was at Hillary Clinton. “The other candidate in this race, you know her name – crooked Hillary Clinton – and believe me folks – she is crooked, has a different view,” Trump said, regarding taking care of our veterans. “She’s trying to sweep it under the rug.”
Clinton spoke Monday about being the daughte
r of a veteran. “How do we keep our country safe? How do we make the world safer?,” Clinton asked. “These challenges matter to me.”
“I have visited our troops in theaters of war and tension. I know how serious this is,” Clinton said.
It’s going to be four more years of the same if she gets in, Trump said of Clinton, “But that’s not gonna happen.”
The presidential candidate spoke about something he said no one else is bringing up, “destroying ISIS.”
“You didn’t hear it last night, they don’t wanna talk about it,” Trump said, “Because of weakness ISIS has been established.”
Trump held a rally at the Winston-Salem Fairground Annex Monday night. Governor Pat McCrory took the stage in the rally, marking the first time the governor has campaigned publicly with Trump in NC.
“We are very fortunate to have both presidential candidates speaking to us next week,” VFW National Commander John A. Biedrzycki Jr. said last week. “It continues a longstanding VFW tradition to provide an opportunity for those seeking the nation’s highest office to address the nation’s largest and oldest major war veterans’ organization, which is especially important during a time of war and instability abroad, as well as internal challenges at home,” he said.
“What we hope to hear from both candidates is how they will fight our enemies while keeping America safe through strong national defense and homeland security programs,” he said. “We also want to know how they will create, enhance and protect veteran and military health care programs and quality of life initiatives, such as educational benefits, job training and employment programs, as well as hear a renewed commitment to return our fallen from their battlefields.”
Invited guest speakers include Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald, Undersecretary for Health Dr. David Shulkin, Acting Undersecretary for Benefits Thomas Murphy, Selective Service System Director Lawrence Romo, Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts and Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-9th/NC), among many others.
The 117th VFW National Convention is being held at the Charlotte convention Center in uptown, located at 501 S. College Street. The convention, bringing an estimated 12,000 members, started Saturday.
The VFW National Convention is not open to the public.