Local veterans talk temperament and trustworthiness after commander-in-chief forum

The presidential candidates clashed on one another's fitness to be President. Each said the other lacks the temperament to lead the nation's armed forces.

KING 5 watched the “NBC Commander-In-Chief Forum” with five local veterans, representing different branches and different conflicts. They’re all military family, but they don’t agree on election 2016.

Related: Transcript of forum 

Debate at the table Wednesday night ranged from Donald Trump’s temperament to Hillary Clinton’s trustworthiness and private email server.

“I believe Clinton has gotten away with too many things. They’ve been glossed over and ignored,” said Jim Broe, a Vietnam veteran.

“I don’t think she’s an option period. It’s scary, it’s really scary,” continued Broe who said Trump was not his primary choice, but won’t vote for Clinton.

“We don’t have a perfect candidate,” said Curtis Thompson, a Vietnam veteran, leaning towards Clinton.

“My fear level, my fear monitor is really, really high with Mr. Trump. The off the wall, school yard bullying approach that he seems to be very comfortable with, appears to have done a good deal of damage across the nation and internationally already.”

“Trump has no idea of how it works,” said Vietnam Veteran Larry Alcantara, a Clinton supporter.  “He’s going to cut a trillion dollars in taxes and add a trillion dollars to the military. How are you going to do that magic act? I don’t understand that.”

Alcantara believes Clinton’s experience and as a U.S. Senator and former secretary of state gives her the clear advantage as commander-in-chief. Navy Veteran Bob Shay disagrees.

“I’m happy he doesn’t have government experience; he has the ability to run a large organization,” said Shay. “Hillary has no experience running a large organization. She says she does, because she was Secretary of State, but then she says she doesn’t know what the “c” meant in front of the paragraphs in these documents,” continued Shay referencing Clinton’s email controversy.

Gulf War Veteran Fred Seaton listed integrity as the quality he looks for in the next commander-in-chief. Seaton, an undecided voter prior to the forum, says he’s now leaning more towards Trump.

“Listening to the issues, one of the things I was concerned about is the aftercare for veterans, once they get out of the service,” said Seaton. “From what I heard from Hillary was she talked about many of the services to help veterans, I didn’t hear anything as far as integration plans for veterans after that. It’s one thing to help treat an injury whether it be physical or mental, but what about continuing that one with job help.”

Seaton says the transition from military to civilian life and workforce is a key challenge facing the current generation of veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan.  

Angel Gonzalez, an Airforce Veteran, with two active duty military sons, says he hopes the next President understands the long term effects of war on service members and their families.  

“A lot of them are coming back with wounds that are both seen and invisible,” said Gonzalez who said she’s leaning towards the GOP nominee this year.

“I think he knows the business side of the American inheritance,” said Gonzalez. “Those of us who have served, we write a blank check, and we say we’re dedicating ourselves to that inheritance.”

Among both the small focus group interviewed by KING 5 and recent national polling, Trump leads with military voters.

An NBC/SurveyMonkey poll taken prior to the NBC forum showed Trump with a 19 point lead, 55 to 36.

Copyright 2016 KING


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