In what turned into a surreal meeting with representatives of Vietnam veterans groups in March of 2017, about two months after his inauguration, Donald Trump went on an extended digression and forced the vets to argue with him about the 1979 war film Apocalypse Now — though he appeared not to know the name of the film, referring to the Best Picture Oscar nominee which ranked by the American Film Institute at number 28 of the AFI list of the 100 greatest American films ever made, only as “that movie.”
Perhaps more importantly, Trump also confused the incendiary anti-personnel weapon napalm, with the dangerous chemical defoliant and herbicide Agent Orange, according to reporting by the online magazine Daily Beast published Friday. Both weapons were widely used by United States forces during the Vietnam War.
The March 17, 2017 White House meeting was organized by Trump aide and former Apprentice contestant Omarosa Manigault Newman, who recently has made a number of damaging revelations about the Trump White House, as the Inquisitr has reported. At that time, however, Trump had assigned Manigault Newman to be his administration’s coordinator for veteran’s issues, despite her complete lack of experience in the field.
According to The Daily Beast reporting, “the event nearly degenerated into a uniquely Trumpian trainwreck.”
What one veteran raised the issue of the government’s response to veterans who had been affected by Agent Orange — which according to History.com has been linked to serious health issues in Vietnam vets including “cancer, birth defects, rashes and severe psychological and neurological problems” — Trump responded only, “that’s taken care of,” according to the Beast report.
Trump then asked the vets whether Agent Orange was “that stuff from that movie.” When the veterans answered Trump, telling him that the film included a now-famous sequence that portrayed United States aircraft dropping napalm — a highly flammable mixture of polystyrene, benzene, and gasoline, according to The Conversation online magazine — Trump insisted that he was right and the veterans were wrong, and that the substance referenced in “that movie” was indeed Agent Orange.
The most famous single line of dialog in Apocalypse Now occurs when fictional Lieutenant Bill Kilgore, played by actress Robert Duvall, tells troops, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.” The Huffington Post has published an entire article about the one line.
But Trump insisted on going one-by-one to each veteran in the meeting, asking whether the film referenced Agent Orange or napalm, The Beast, reported, refusing to admit that he had been in error and repeatedly saying, “no, I think it’s that stuff from that movie,” and other similar remarks.
When one veteran, Vietnam Veterans of America co-founder Rick Weidman, told the president that he disliked the film Apocalypse Now because he felt it was disrespectful to veterans, Trump shot back, “Well, I think you just didn’t like the movie.”
One veteran who attended the meeting described the incident to The Daily Beast, saying, “it was really f*****g weird.”