Trump Got Into Fight With Vietnam Veterans Over The Plot of 'Apocalypse Now': Report
According to a report from Asawin Suebsaeng of the Daily Beast, President Donald Trump decided to fight with Vietnam veterans over a plot point of the movie "Apocalypse Now," at a meeting that was organized last year by fired former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman.
The meeting was attended by representatives from the American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America, American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Concerned Veterans for America, as well as Newman, Stephen Miller, Kellyanne Conway, and then-Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
During the course of the discussion, Trump insisted that the issue of veterans' access to care at the VA for the chronic effects of exposure to Agent Orange was "taken care of" — which it has not been. He then bizarrely segued into discussing how Robert Duvall's character in the classic Vietnam war movie used Agent Orange on Vietcong forces — despite the fact that he actually used napalm. Duvall's line in the scene, "I love the smell of napalm in the morning," is one of the movie's most famous quotes.
Veterans reportedly tried to correct him, only for him to stubbornly insist the chemical was Agent Orange, saying "no, I think it's that stuff from that movie."
One veteran in attendance stated that the whole exchange was "really f*cking weird."
During the Vietnam War, U.S. forces made extensive use of both napalm and Agent Orange. Napalm is an antipersonnel weapon consisting of gasoline mixed with a gelling agent, used to create explosions of fire that stick to enemy soldiers' skin. Agent Orange is a defoliant that was used to strip forests and eliminate cover for opposing guerrilla forces — but it is also highly toxic, and thousands of U.S. troops were exposed during missions. The VA has been slow to provide treatment for their illnesses.
Possible complications of Agent Orange exposure include Parkinson's Disease, ischemic heart disease, type 2 diabetes, damage to the skin, liver, and nervous system, and cancers of the blood, lung, lymph nodes, bone marrow, prostate, and soft tissue. There is speculation that Sen. John McCain's brain cancer could be linked to Agent Orange exposure.
Two months ago, the House passed the Blue Water Navy Veterans Vietnam Act, which extends VA benefits to nearly 90,000 veterans who may have worked with toxic chemicals during the war.