NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — U.S. military veterans gathered outside Trump Tower in Midtown on Tuesday after Donald Trump made remarks suggesting that soldiers who suffer from mental health issues might not be as strong as those who don’t.


Trump made the remarks while speaking at a Retired American Warriors event on Monday, CBS News reported.

“When you talk about the mental health problems – when people come back from war and combat, and they see things that maybe a lot of the folks in this room have seen many times over, and you’re strong and you can handle it. But a lot of people can’t handle it,” he said.

Later in the speech, Trump seemed to show support for veterans, even shedding light on the importance of acknowledging mental health issues in the United States, CBS News reported.

“The whole mental health issue is going to be a very important issue when I take over, and the VA is going to be fixed in so many ways, but that’s gonna be one of the ways we’re gonna help,” Trump said. “And that’s in many respects going to be the number one thing we have to do because I think it’s really been left behind.”

Outside Trump Tower, protesters expressed their outrage over the comment.

“Suggesting that those of us suffering from PTSD are like this because we aren’t strong enough just perpetuates the needless deaths — 20 veterans a day who take their own lives,” one veteran told 1010 WINS’ Al Jones.

Vice President Joe Biden assailed Trump for the remarks while out on the campaign trail for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

“How can he be so out of touch,” Biden said  in an interview that aired Tuesday on CNN.

Biden also said Trump is “not a bad man.” But he added:  “His ignorance is profound, so profound.”

One protester in New York City seemed to echo Biden’s opinion.

“I don’t take it as disrespect, just take it as ignorance,” another protester said. “But it’s damaging ignorance.”

Biden also said government leaders in general, including Democrats, haven’t communicated well enough with American people feeling “scared” about their future.

“We don’t speak to them enough,” he said. Biden suggested that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton needs to speak more fiercely about issues she cares about, but also said “every time she expresses emotion, she gets clobbered.”

He called Trump “this megaphone out there” and said supporters “think he speaks to them because they haven’t been listening to what he’s been saying.”

Trump’s campaign has said the candidate’s comments on PTSD were taken out of context.

According to a recent CBS News poll, Clinton edges Trump by four points (45 percent to 41 percent) ahead of Tuesday’s vice presidential debate.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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