US Elections 2016: Meet the American voter - The military veteran

Trump first in campaign to support veterans

Mr Mike Kelly, 58, a military veteran who is supporting Mr Donald Trump because he says the Republican was first to come out in support of the military.
Mr Kelly, who now owns a technology business that helps veterans, said the military teaches people the importance of a good work ethic, and that is why veterans generally support Republicans, who would "rather teach a man to fish than give them hando
Mr Kelly, who now owns a technology business that helps veterans, said the military teaches people the importance of a good work ethic, and that is why veterans generally support Republicans, who would "rather teach a man to fish than give them handouts".ST PHOTO: JEREMY AU YONG

HARRISBURG, PENNSYLVANIA • As a military veteran, Mr Mike Kelly, 58, is looking for a candidate who will support the veteran community, which accounts for at least half a million people in each swing state of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida.

"Trump was the first person to support veterans during this election cycle... Because Trump supports vets and I support vets, we are aligned," said Mr Kelly, who spent nearly 23 years in the military and served in Afghanistan, Kosovo and the first Gulf War, among others.

Mr Trump has been endorsed by a number of veterans' groups, including Veterans for a Strong America, and last week, a group representing veterans who fought in the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion.

Mr Kelly, who now owns a technology business that helps veterans, said the military teaches people the importance of a good work ethic, and that is why veterans generally support Republicans, who would "rather teach a man to fish than give them handouts".

When asked about Mr Trump's treatment of the Khan family - the Muslim American family who lost their son in Iraq - and the way he belittled Senator John McCain's war record, Mr Kelly acknowledged that Mr Trump has occasionally said "some stupid things".

 

But in both situations, Mr Kelly said Mr Trump was attacked first.

WORDS VERSUS DEEDS

Trump has said stupid stuff but Hillary has done some terrible things.

MR MIKE KELLY, a veteran who spent 23 years in the military and served in Afghanistan, Kosovo and the first Gulf War, referring to Mrs Clinton's e-mail scandal. 

"It was a knee-jerk, immediate response to being attacked," reasoned the father of three and grandfather of three.

Mr Kelly also contrasted what Mr Trump has said to what his opponent Hillary Clinton has done.

"Trump has said stupid stuff but Hillary has done some terrible things," said Mr Kelly, pointing to her use of a private server while she was secretary of state.

"I have handled classified information too and if any of us did a fraction of what Clinton did, we would be court-martialled, dishonourably discharged or fired," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 01, 2016, with the headline 'Trump first in campaign to support veterans'. Print Edition | Subscribe