Donald Trump’s first story about the Iranian missile strike on U.S. forces in Iraq was that “no Americans were harmed.” Then, after 11 service members were airlifted out with traumatic brain injuries, Trump dismissed those injuries as “headaches and other things.” Because the United States Army airlifts people out of Iraq for simple headaches.
The number of troops suffering from traumatic brain injuries after that airstrike is now over 100, and while Trump has acknowledged that “head trauma … exists,” that doesn’t mean he’s taking it seriously: “I viewed it a little bit differently than most, and I won’t be changing my mind on that.” No, because changing his mind would mean admitting he was wrong, and that is not something Trump does.
But that means that all of the support for the military Trump loves to brag about absolutely cannot include listening to people like Frank Larkin, father of Navy SEAL Ryan Larkin, who died by suicide after struggling with a traumatic brain injury. After Trump’s “headache” comments, Frank Larkin wrote to Trump that those words were “an undeserved punch felt by every person suffering from a TBI, their shattered families, and supporting communities who struggle everyday with the consequences of insidious brain injuries.”
Trump’s refusal to admit he’s ever wrong means he won’t be listening to Ryan Britch, a former National Guard sergeant injured in Afghanistan who described his injury to Business Insider. “I never lost consciousness, but after the adrenaline went away, I had a massive headache. I was dizzy. I had concentration issues. I was irritable. I came back home to the States, and I didn’t really think anything was wrong until I was grocery shopping one day and I got unbelievably dizzy and fell down.”
Ten years later, Britch said, “I wake up with headaches every morning. It kind of feels like I’m hungover.” He still gets dizzy spells.
But, you know, it’s just headaches, and Trump “won’t be changing my mind on that.”