The public knows Donald Trump as the loudmouth presidential nominee for the Republican Party. Those who endorse him, often do so based solely on his inclination to tell his opposition exactly what he thinks of them, with Megyn Kelly being the most famous recipient of his negativity. However, a major selling point for Trump’s proponents is his vocalized support of disabled veterans. But how supportive his he? It’s as transparent as going through his correspondence with the City of New York.
In 1991, he wrote a letter begging city officials to remove the homeless and veterans from Fifth Avenue on the grounds that they sully the image of the city. How much can he support them if he can’t stand to see them going from the street to his tower? According to the New York Daily News, Trump wrote a letter to the chairman of the Assembly’s Committee on Cities, John Dearie.
“While disabled veterans should be given every opportunity to earn a living, is it fair to do so to the detriment of the city as a whole or its tax paying citizens and businesses?… Do we allow Fifth Ave., one of the world’s finest and most luxurious shopping districts, to be turned into an outdoor flea market, clogging and seriously downgrading the area?”
This was in 1991. Over 25 years have passed and yet we have seen little change in his view towards veterans peddling goods on Fifth Avenue. Fortunately, New York City has made exceptions for veterans going as far back as 1894, specifically designed so that Civil War vets could make some kind of living.
These regulations allowing veterans to capitalize from Fifth Avenue foot traffic came up for renewal in 2004, and once again, Trump spoke out about the street vendors. This time he reached out to then-mayor Michael Bloomberg.
As if it couldn’t get any worse, a Queens, New York, organization wrote a letter to Mr. Trump requesting a donation. All they got back was a bumper sticker that read, “Trump – Make America Great Again.” According to Raw Story, the organization devoted to helping disabled veterans who wind up homeless, also received a letter with their bumper sticker.
“Unfortunately we are unable to make donations from the campaign… Mr. Trump is very passionate about giving veterans the best life possible!”
Local organizations are often the first and only help that homeless and disabled veterans receive. The Guardian Foundation in Bullhead City, Arizona, is one such group focused on bringing relief to this demographic that is often stigmatized and forgotten. The lack of funding on the part of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs is not lost on many who find their communities effected by war under the guise of homelessness, and local relief is usually even more poorly funded than the VA. David Lipinski is the vice president of Guardian Foundation and commented on the problem at ground level.
“Taking into consideration the lack of funding from the Veterans Affairs and all the issues it has, local organizations and charities have really come together in order to fulfill the needs of our homeless vets. This is exactly what we do at The Guardian Foundation. On any given day, we will go to our local park, where our homeless community usually congregate, and literally ask them what they need. We do everything we can to fulfill those needs by asking for donations from the locals. Or, which happens more often, we pay for it out of our own pockets. If it weren’t for these donations, many times, we couldn’t have fulfilled the need.”
Often times, our society treats homelessness and other situations our veterans face as criminal. If Donald Trump believes that our veterans are degrading to the surroundings in which we live; if the only situation in which he is willing donate is when the cameras are rolling; then maybe he shouldn’t t be elected to take on the problem of the VA, which needs to be high on the checklist for the next president of the United States.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]