Trump (again) says US troops are thieves. Vets explode in anger.

Donald Trump yesterday, for the second time, appeared to accuse US troops in Iraq of being thieves.

Trump had made the same accusation a year ago, suggesting this wasn’t simply an off-the-cuff mistake. Also, it’s difficult to believe, as the Trump campaign is now alleging, that Trump was referring to Iraq troops, when Trump made the same claim a year ago.

As you can imagine, the troops and vets are not at all pleased with their potentially future commander-in-chief accusing them of being crooks, and “living ver well” after leaving Iraq, when many left Iraq with PTSD and serious injuries.

First, a look at what Trump said, then the response from the troops. Here’s John Harwood of the New York Times and CNBC:

by default 2016-06-15 at 11.25.09 AM

And here’s Ben Kesling of the Wall Street Journal, who is also apparently a veteran:

by default 2016-06-15 at 11.25.57 AM

Politico has Trump’s comments from the rally last year, in which he again appeared to be criticizing American troops:

[T]he last time Trump touched on the subject, during a rally last fall in New Hampshire, he also appeared to suggest that American soldiers had stolen U.S. government money — both in Iraq and Afghanistan.

At a Sept. 30 [2015] rally in Keene, during remarks on Obama’s withdrawal from Iraq and Iraqi government corruption, Trump segued abruptly into discussion of the cash spent by American authorities occupying Iraq and Afghanistan.

“They didn’t really want to fight for Iraq because Iraq is a corrupt government, you know. Remember when they were handing 50 million dollars of cash? Cash! They were going through Afghanistan paying off, I want to know who were the soldiers that are carrying cash of 50 million dollars? Cash! How stupid are we?,” Trump said. “I wouldn’t be surprised those soldiers, I wouldn’t be surprised if the cash didn’t get there, I have to be honest.”

Here’s the video of Trump last year — he wasn’t talking about US soldiers then too? Please.

by default 2016-06-15 at 11.37.13 AMUS veteran Corbin Reiff spent five years a Sergeant in the US Army. He worked on the problem Trump attacked. He is one of the vets whose integrity Trump just questioned.

Read Sgt. Reiff’s responses on Twitter from the bottom of this page, up — because of the way Twitter works, his responses are in reverse chronological order, so you need to start at the bottom.


by default 2016-06-15 at 11.23.36 AM

by default 2016-06-15 at 11.23.27 AM

by default 2016-06-15 at 11.23.18 AM

by default 2016-06-15 at 11.23.11 AM

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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71 Responses to “Trump (again) says US troops are thieves. Vets explode in anger.”

  1. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Perhaps you need to go back and read about what Trump said was being stolen.

  2. Ryan McCrory says:

    Um…I do remember being briefed in Iraq that upon leaving we were to have all of our belongings x-ray scanned b/c soldiers were stealing gold bars and other things from the palace of Saddam Hussein and other palaces around Iraq. I do remember knowing soldiers who I thought I could trust stealing a lot of my equipment to keep for themselves. Just because someone is in the military doesn’t mean they can be thieving dirtbags. I knew criminals who were forced to either serving a 6 year term in prison or going into the military. So the military does have criminals. They were stealing chunks of gold from the chandeliers, toilets, sinks, cabinets from many of the palaces, golden ak47’s and other weapons, as well as the caches of US dollars that were stored up by Saddam. They would cut open the gas tanks of the humvees and lmtv’s and load it with cash and gold. Which is why everyone after 2006 would have everything scanned for “War Trophies” upon returning back to the United States. So when Trump says veterans, he doesn’t mean all veterans. He means those veterans I talked about who were thieves that did steal from Iraq and Afghanistan. People need to educate themselves instead of taking things out of context. Which in this case is exactly what has happened.

  3. Bryan Hann says:

    FWIW, I don’t know what Trump said specifically, and for the purposes of my comment I don’t particularly care. I have seen people today suggesting that the claim of a soldier doing something untoward is an indictment of all soldiers. I am suggesting that, from the point of view of a follower of the gospels, that such an inference is unwarranted.

    I did preface what I pointed out with ‘for those who care for such things’. Not all do. YMMV.


  4. Bryan Hann says:

    What message are you trying to read into it? I don’t do subtext.

  5. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    What message do you think you are conveying?

  6. Bryan Hann says:

    I will point out, for those who care for such things, that even Christ had a serious problem with one of his Twelve — and this does not impute any wrong to his other Apostles.


  7. Joe Foran says:

    Most military and Veterans hate Obama and Crooked Hillary. Your next President is TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP!!

  8. HiloBoy69 says:

    And a young military guy would be great – add on executive experience, foreign policy experience, and Latino?!
    Eric Garcetti. 45, Mexican-American, Jewish (another first!), Lt. Navy Reserves, human rights lawyer and civil wars expert in South Asia & North Africa, Speaks fluent Spanish, mayor LA (larger population than 24 states), wife from Indiana!, and sexy as hell. Also active campaigner/surrogate for Obama ’08/’12 and Hillary ’16.

  9. HiloBoy69 says:

    a strong Clinton ad featuring Vets concerned about Trump’s erratic promises to send them to Syria, about Trump’s scam donations, Trump’s slander against war prisoners (McCain), and about Trump’s libelous comments about Iraq vets being thieves. That should run in all the big vet states: VA, NH, FL, CO battlegrounds + SC, GA, MT, MO AR, AK even! Let’s make 2016 an electoral landslide!

  10. DoverBill says:

    And all this time – other than old, white male, teabagger bigots – I thought that he had nobody left to insult.

    Then again, tomorrow’s just a daaaaaaaaaaaaay away.

  11. Moderator3 says:

    We all have off days, thus I am an unreasonable moderator today. Yes, I can also be a jerk. It beats drinking. Cheaper, too. However, if the post is that upsetting to you, email John.

  12. RobertInSF says:

    I was under the impression that comments can be about the post, as much as the content….so, it’s not a personal complaint. Moderator3 replied to my initial comment and every reply I have posted to this thread. And I am not sure why they would be ticked off, since nothing I have said would tick of a reasonable moderator. Nothing inflammatory, nothing confrontational, nothing that wasn’t value added to the blog’s development overall.

    As far as I can find, there’s no comment policy, so if the Moderator has a blank check to emotionally respond to legitimate questions and feedback about an blog post here, then that’s a shame…I guess the freedom to be a jerk via anonymity cuts both ways, for both commenters and moderators.

  13. Moderator3 says:

    Then email John Aravosis instead of taking up space with your personal complaints. Also, ticking off a moderator can be much like spitting into the wind.

  14. RobertInSF says:

    Well, my comment was about the design, layout, and presentation of the relevant information in the blog post. It was lead off with the notice about the latest statement, but no where on the page was a clear and unambiguous link to a source about the newest statement in context…the Youtube link that is on the page is from the year old statement…which was relevant, but not the focus.
    It turns out that one of the many text links on the page took you to a page that did have the current statement, so the info was there, but just presented without any consideration for the readers to easily find and digest the information needed to review for themselves the information.

    Mostly, you had to hope/guess which link would take you to source info about the latest statement, as the link that actually does that strongly implies it actually points to his historical statement, not the current one.

    Just frustrating the reader, so that’s why I asked. I didn’t feel like clicking on every link until I found one…presuming there was one on the page of course.

  15. Nicholas A Kocal says:

    Veterans did not steal the money sent to Iraq. That was the contractors and the Bush appointees.

  16. quax says:

    ” … base it on truth. Leave the anger.”

    Well played sir! You are first rate. Reading this statement coming from a Trump supporter cracked me up. Thanks for the lols!

  17. rmthunter says:

    It strikes me that Trump is Bryan Fischer with a national audience: he doesn’t care what he says as long as it’s inflammatory and gets a lot of attention.

  18. Mxpctlk says:

    So the coalition didn’t meet your standards. It is/was what it is/was. The fact remains, though imperfect, there was indeed a coalition. We did not act alone. You go from denying that fact to laying blame on Trump, who spoke the truth. Now you’re laying into Bush.

    Three times here, you’ve twisted the reality to fit your angry, hateful world view. You seem to bounce from false premise to opinion-based statement, then on to another false premise and opinion-based statement – and I would guess you do this over-and-over.

    Such a pattern accomplishes nothing but grief. Instead, follow the truth. Go where it leads. Look at what other outside factors there may be and arrive at your best conclusion. But base it on truth. Leave the anger.

  19. Gerald Parks says:

    RepackRider …Thank you for your service, my fellow American!

  20. Gerald Parks says:

    Thank you for your service, my fellow American!

  21. quax says:

    The term coalition is in itself a lie. It implies a level of coordination that never existed. This was Bush’s war, it’s on the record that even Blair only went along because he saw it as the only way to preserve this illusive “special relationship”.

  22. Your other comments were deleted because you’ve tried to turn far too many unrelated blog posts into a discussion of how evil Hillary is. It’s not only irrelevant to the post, the extent of it comes off as trolling, i.e., to disrupt the community, and/or help the GOP. Either one, that’s not why we’re here.

  23. Moderator3 says:

    The video was published on June 14..

  24. RobertInSF says:

    Thanks for checking…but the only youtube video on the blog post is from the comment last year…not the one the post is leading off with that was recent.
    So is there no link to the actual comment that Trump made here?
    Even the Twitter feeds are pictures and not links…

  25. Mxpctlk says:

    Boots on the ground are one form of support. Logistics, intel, currency, etc., are another. Granted the U.S. shouldered the burden — but you’re twisting the truth. Stick with the facts. We have enough lies.

  26. JaneE says:

    Trump might not have been able to keep his hands off $50 million of taxpayer money, but our soldiers in Iraq have better ethics, morals, and standards than Donald Trump.

  27. Nelson Kerr says:

    USAF E-7 Retired

  28. quax says:

    COALITION, seriously? You are trotting out this old, tired talking point? I guess Poland could have handled this =:-o

  29. Mxpctlk says:


    1 – the COALITION had the responsibility, as the COALITION was the occupying force;
    2 – Trump’s not pinning it ALL on vets – and he’s accurate in that SOME of the people serving DID IN FACT scam millions of dollars;
    3 – those attempting to twist Trump’s meaning are either part of or willingly buy-ins to the ongoing #nevertrump smear machine;
    4 — I suspect one of those descriptions fits you.

  30. 2karmanot says:


  31. 2karmanot says:

    I see where the crazy comes from. Give it a rest, vote for Hillary and stfu!

  32. Moderator3 says:

    It must be a browser problem, because the video plays. It’s definitely a Youtube video, so you should be able to find it there.

  33. Badgerite says:

    Demented Donald.

  34. RobertInSF says:

    Am I missing something on the page, or just having a web-browser issue?
    I cannot for the life of me find a link to the video or statement in question…just pictures of tweets, and a picture of a video. Nothing that I can use to navigate to the source easily, in the article.

    Can someone point me to the source for this post?

  35. RepackRider says:

    Right here, E-5, Honorable Discharge

  36. Zoey says:

    This is a classic example of the pot calling the kettle black. Stupid, stupid Drumpf!

  37. crazymonkeylady says:

    This guy may be our next president. People who hate Hillary because Bernie didn’t win are not going to let Trump’s insanity stop them from writing in Bernie or outright voting FOR Trump. They enjoy the prospect of 4 years of Crazy to show us all how awful we are for not electing the right person. They just want to see it burn. Pun Intended.

  38. quax says:

    My comment was meant entirely tongue in cheek :-)

    I think it is hilarious that he self-censored a comment that passed the moderation filter.

  39. quax says:

    The point is, the US had an obligation as occupying power to bring in cash. That under the Bush administration this was done in the least competent manner is pretty much a given. For Trump to just pin this on the vets is despicable.

  40. Nelson Kerr says:

    My mistake.I forgot that speach is very limited there

  41. Phil in FLL says:

    Every blog has a purpose (e.g., vegetarian eating, do-it-yourself home repair, whatever). If a commenter repeatedly states that the blog’s purpose (and anyone interested in it) is stupid, folks might tell them to move on to another blog.

    I’m fairly certain that one of the main purposes of Americablog has always been to encourage progressives to participate in the electoral process. Conservative Republicans might think that purpose is stupid (or rather, inimical to their interests), but I don’t think that purpose is stupid, and I don’t think you do either, quax. Now what would happen, I wonder, if either one of us were to get on a conservative blog and repeatedly suggest that it was stupid or unethical or immoral for conservatives to participate in the electoral process? Would some folks on that hypothetical conservative blog suggest that we had worn out our welcome? Do ya think?

  42. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    His username is the explanation. In Canada, hate speech is a crime.

  43. Mxpctlk says:

    Of course they needed cash… so? The point is there was a LOT: LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of skimming going on and it was covered in Army Times and Navy Times, as well as mainstream media to a lesser degree. The prevailing cultural norm in the region — especially Afghanistan — is massive corruption, and the long logistics tail to the region only heightened the degree of thievery. We’ll never know the full extent of it. Then we had sideshows like the CIA/State activity in Benghazi – and I”m not talking about the assault, murders or cover up.

  44. Nelson Kerr says:

    Where did you get the silly idea that hate speech is a crime? In the US at least making this kind of vile idiocy criminal is legally impossible

  45. mark_in_toronto says:

    Can’t they arrest Trump for hate speech?
    Then, the GOP could put whomever they want as their candidate.
    Problems solved.

  46. ComradeRutherford says:

    “they were able to restart his heart several times during evac and they managed to extract most of the shrapnel. His enlistment wasn’t up though”

    In WWII, soldiers were rotated out of combat and sent home. Bush II clearly wanted to get all the soldiers killed off and thus sent them back over and over again, and then tried to prevent them from accessing the VA when they returned.

  47. quax says:

    Darn, what morsel of wisdom may I be missing? I will never know it! Oh the agony!

  48. Polly Tics says:

    This man has demonstrated that he is not merely a Fascist maniac, but is truly and honestly mental deranged. I never thought In would saw this, but I almost commiserate with the Republican Party…as I cannot imagine trying to pretend this man is a legitimate candidate.

  49. quax says:

    “Several officers and at least one foreign national — an Asian guy who
    was defrauding the Navy out of bajillions — have been arrested and

    None of those will live very well of these spoils of war.

  50. Badgerite says:

    Makes as much sense as anything. Unhinged!

  51. Badgerite says:

    Or……He’s several hinges short of an actual door frame.

  52. Todd20036 says:

    It’s his Hell Toupee’. It tells him to do things….

  53. Mxpctlk says:

    There was indeed theft, fraud and cover up committed by Americans in charge of handling finances in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places too. Several officers and at least one foreign national — an Asian guy who was defrauding the Navy out of bajillions — have been arrested and prosecuted. That’s a fact.

  54. ElJiffy says:

    LOTS of money was stolen, and very little of it in the hands of the grunts who may have been deployed to deliver it safely to the big players in the Iraq/Afganistan ‘reconstruction’ effort. Naturally Trump blames it on the little guys.

  55. UrsusArctos says:

    Please don’t insult yams.

  56. Gerald Parks says:

    Where is the VETS for Democratic Party/Hillary?
    This would make for a great rallying cry!

  57. Houndentenor says:

    This is the same guy that said he could kill someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and not lose any supporters. You didn’t think he believed that? He thinks he can say anything and his fans will still love him. As everyone with that big an ego eventually finds out, crowds are fickle and you can go too far.

  58. goulo says:

    I like to imagine that one day he’ll come clean and tell his followers: “I was merely doing an elaborate social experiment to see how obviously obnoxious and egotistical and ridiculous and delusional and demagogic and racist and sexist and crazy and lying and immature a candidate could be and yet many voters would still enthusiastically support him for president. You all have sadly failed. Please rethink things and go vote for someone who isn’t obviously a crazy megalomaniac fascist.”

    But sadly I know this is only a fantasy.

  59. BeccaM says:

    I think you’re trying to make sense of a man who is demonstrably mentally ill.

  60. MyrddinWilt says:


    The money was stollen by Dick Cheney’s Haliburton, by Blackwater and all the other corporate welfare queens that the GOP shovels money into their maw.

    The soldiers didn’t even get body armor or armored humvees until people here in the US kicked up a huge fuss. The Bushies had to be shamed into providing them with basic tools for the job.

  61. keirmeister says:

    Something ain’t right here. Trump has to be smart enough to understand that this is a third rail he’s touching.

    For a long time I’ve believed Trump doesn’t actually want to be president – or at least wants the title, but not the responsibility. His behavior to date would support this.

    So he’s either purposefully trying to sabotage his own campaign, or he really is so full of his own sense of supremacy that he doesn’t care about anyone or anything else.

    Both are totally plausible.

    But what’s worse is that he has a large group of people who either don’t see this or don’t care.

  62. BeccaM says:

    While I have no doubt that lots of the money was lost to graft and corruption, mostly within the Iraqi provisional government, the truly disgusting thing here is Trump openly suggesting the money ended up in the hands of the grunts and ground-pounders.

  63. ElJiffy says:

    Like a broken clock, even Trump may be right once a day. But, as usual, he’s blaming the wrong people.
    I don’t blame soldiers for this titanic swindle, but has there ever been a full and impartial inquiry into the millions of US aid to Iraq and Afghanistan that went missing?

  64. BeccaM says:

    Just when I think Trump cannot possibly find lower depths of despicable bleating, he consistently exceeds my expectations.

    My nephew served on the ground in Iraq. Three tours as a platoon sergeant. Far from coming home with gobs of cash, what he came home with after his final tour were extensive IED-caused injuries, lots of scars, and PTSD. His torso appears mainly to be scar tissue, which I’m told itches a lot of the time, and that’s when it doesn’t hurt. He’s lucky though, because they were able to restart his heart several times during evac and they managed to extract most of the shrapnel. His enlistment wasn’t up though and he wanted to continue to serve, so they transferred him to the National Guard where he finished up as an MP and now is an officer with the New Mexico state police mainly serving rural areas.

    I love my nephew and I love the way he’s almost obsessive with the idea of protecting people from harm. He’s made sacrifices for others I myself couldn’t hope to match and he’s one of the bravest guys I know.

    Trump, on the other hand, is the self-absorbed cowardly spoiled brat who sought deferments from the Vietnam draft and then a medical exemption due to ‘bone spurs’ on his heels. That this hypocritical, thieving asshole would question the honor, integrity and the sacrifices of those who actually DID serve their country is beyond disgusting.

    About all I can say is that with everything Trump says, every accusation and criticism and slander he levels against others, he reveals ever more about himself. And here, what he’s telling us is if HE had the chance to embezzle millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars, he wouldn’t hesitate.

  65. Alana Anderson says:

    what Pauline answered I didn’t know that people can make $4529 in four weeks on the internet . check this site out


  66. Badgerite says:

    This is just offensive beyond words. What is wrong with that guy? Other than everything.

  67. Demosthenes says:

    The vulgar taking yam continually offers validation to all who hate him.

  68. Bill_Perdue says:

    The orangutan is a confirmed masochist who’ll blame his defeat on everyone but himself.

  69. 2karmanot says:

    Me thinks tiny Trump is an expert at/on theft.

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