One of the more absurd revelations coming from the tell-all book and secret White House recordings—made by a hand-picked appointee of President Donald Trump—involves a ridiculous argument Trump started with a group of veterans about the movie Apocalypse Now. Among their number were several who served in the war Trump opted out of: Vietnam.
Having chosen advisers and administration officials unprepared and completely incompetent in matters involving the federal government, the behind the scenes look at the early days of the Trump White House exposed a comedy of errors.
One such incident began with a 2017 meeting between Omarosa Manigault-Newman—who had just been placed in charge of veterans issues by Trump to the disgust of many veterans—Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, a handful of White House staffers and representatives from various veterans organizations representing about six million veterans.
Despite dropping in on several meetings and surprising tourists that day, the President skipped the veterans meeting entirely. Once word of the snub became public knowledge, people expressed their extreme displeasure on social media.
— Bruce Bartlett (@BruceBartlett) March 10, 2017
This is the second time he’s ditched veterans and sent Omarosa there instead. https://t.co/gxfuKd9OHf
— ♀️ ᵀᴴᴱ – (@Im_TheAntiTrump) March 10, 2017
Now that the election’s over, there’s no limit to Trump’s show of contempt for Veterans. https://t.co/6DGsqHmrOa
— margaret stuart md (@marstu67) March 10, 2017
Cuz if I’m a veteran, the person I reallllly want to talk to is Omarosa.
R U freakin’ kidding me? What an insult!
— CP says Paul Ryan & GOP should apologize (@CPinNashville) March 10, 2017
After the backlash of being pushed off by the President onto a former contestant from his reality show—who like Trump never served in the military—another meeting convened in the Roosevelt Room on March 17, 2017, which included the President and Omarosa.
However—drawing on his years of experience watching war dramas on television and in movies—Trump started an argument with Vietnam War veterans about the movie Apocalypse Now.
This is 1 of the weirder stories I’ve reported on on this WH: a WH meeting between Trump & war veterans devolved into a bizarre debate where the president wouldn’t stop arguing to vets, including Vietnam vets, that it was Agent Orange not napalm in the famous APOCALYPSE NOW scene https://t.co/sOZFnLPJFV
— Asawin Suebsaeng (@swin24) August 17, 2018
One anonymous attendee described the President’s decision to bicker over details from a movie by stating:
It was really fucking weird.”
The squabble began with a comment by Rick Weidman, co-founder of Vietnam Veterans of America. When asked for his Trump administration wishlist item, Weidman brought up the issue of the herbicide Agent Orange.
Weidman asked Trump and his team to extend benefits to more veterans poisoned by Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. The President replied it was already taken care of, which confused the veterans in attendance.
And the resulting exchange was both baffling and disturbing.