Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden told a crowd in New Hampshire that President Donald Trump’s comments on traumatic brain injuries suffered by U.S. troops in the recent Iraq missile attack were ‘disgusting’.
The former Vice President slammed Trump who claimed the concussion injuries suffered by U.S. troops in the attack were just ‘headaches’ and ‘not very serious’.
The president said he was initially told there were no injuries in the attack two weeks ago but the Pentagon announced on Friday that 34 U.S. troops have been diagnosed with concussions.
Former Vice President Joe Biden (pictured at a campaign community event in Claremont, New Hampshire) called President Trump’s comments ‘disgusting’
President Donald Trump (pictured during a news conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday) claimed that the injuries were ‘not very serious’
Speaking at a campaign event in New Hampshire on Friday, Biden took aim at the president, claiming that Trump ‘brushed off’ possible cases of traumatic brain injuries. Biden branded the idea that they could be ‘taken so lightly’ as ‘disgusting’.
The Pentagon had previously said that 11 U.S. service members were transported to hospitals in Kuwait and Germany but it was confirmed Friday that 34 troops have been diagnosed with concussions from the Iranian missile attack on Al Asad Air Base.
According to a Defense Department spokesman, half of the troops affected have returned to duty in Iraq while eight were sent to the U.S. for further treatment. No Americans were killed in the attack.
The attack on the air base in Iraq over two weeks ago was a direct response to the death of Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani in an American drone strike ordered by President Trump.
‘This week he brushed off the injuries sustained by those brave troops who were on the other side of the Iranian bombardment and missile attack in Iraq from Iran,’ Biden said.
‘And he said while they were being evaluated for traumatic brain injuries, he said no, they just have headaches.’
Thirty-four U.S. troops suffered injuries in the attack but there were no American casualties
The Iranian air missile hitting the Al Assad airbase in Iraq earlier this month on January 8
He added that there are ‘300,000 estimated people coming home from these wars suffering from post-traumatic stress as a consequence of being exposed to the traumatic brain injuries.
‘And the idea that [it] is taken so lightly, I find it quite frankly disgusting.’
Biden’s late son Beau served in the war in Iraq.
Trump’s comments came on Wednesday as news of further injuries from the January 8 strike emerged. The president dismissed the concussion symptoms reported by American troops as ‘not very serious’.
‘I heard they had headaches,’ Trump said at a news conference in Davos, Switzerland.
‘No, I don’t consider them very serious injuries, relative to other injuries that I’ve seen.’
The president’s comments were also criticized by prominent veteran groups who called on him to apologize for the way he ‘minimized’ the injuries.
Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) said it ‘expects an apology from the president to our service men and women for his misguided remarks’.
Former Vice President Joe Biden with his late son Beau (left) who served in the war in Iraq
‘In light of today’s announcement from the defense department that 34 U.S. service members suffered traumatic brain injuries as a result of Iran’s retaliatory strike and President Trump’s remarks which minimized these troops’ injuries, the Veterans of Foreign Wars cannot stand idle on this matter,’ VFW National Commander William ‘Doc’ Schmitz said in a statement.
‘The VFW expects an apology from the president to our service men and women for his misguided remarks. And, we ask that he and the White House join with us in our efforts to educate Americans of the dangers TBI has on these heroes as they protect our great nation in these trying times. Our warriors require our full support more than ever in this challenging environment.’
The Pentagon claim that the number injured in the Iranian missile attack rose because symptoms were not immediately apparent and the concussion-like symptoms appeared days later in some cases.
‘A lot of these symptoms, they are late developing, they manifest over a period of time, people, in some cases, their condition will improve and what we saw is a number of people who were initially screened for concussion-like symptoms … saw their conditions improve rapidly and then others we saw their conditions didn’t improve,’ said Chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman
‘Some got worse and some had severe enough symptoms that they were transported on for further treatment’.
On Friday, Joe Biden also criticized Trump for this week’s announcement that he plans to extend his ban on travel from certain countries. Trump has called it a ‘very powerful ban’ that is necessary to ensure national security.
According to two new polls released this week, Bernie Sanders is pulling ahead of Joe Biden in New Hampshire.