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A Bunch Of Veterans Joined Trump In Booing Reporters And The VFW Is Not Happy

The Veterans of Foreign Wars said it was "disappointed" in its members and stood up for the media after the heckling.

Posted on July 24, 2018, at 6:40 p.m. ET

President Donald Trump galvanized a group of veterans to boo and heckle the media during a national convention for the Veterans of Foreign Wars on Tuesday, prompting a rebuke from the organization.

Carlos Barria / Reuters

The veterans services organization said it was "disappointed" that members joined in on Trump's refrain of attacking the media.

LIVE: President Trump delivers remarks at the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) National Convention in Kansas City. https://t.co/GwjjTAplxb

"We were disappointed to hear some of our members boo the press. We rely on the media to help spread the VFW's message, and CNN, NBC, ABC, FOX, CBS, and others on site today were our invited guests," spokeperson Randi Law said in a statement. "We were happy to have them there."

The president addressed the crowd of veterans at the organization's large convention in Kansas City, Missouri, belaboring topics like illegal immigration, tariffs, and the trade policies of other countries.

Toward the middle of his address, Trump suddenly pointed at reporters in the back of the room and told the audience, "What you are seeing and what you are reading is not happening."

“Just stick with us, don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news.” Trump, the commander in chief, points to the press in the back, veterans boo, jeer and applaud. Unsettling. https://t.co/1L3FiOlo4H

"Just stick with us," Trump said of his administration. "Don't believe the crap you see from these people — the fake news."

The group of veterans loudly cheered, booed, clapped, and laughed as the president attacked NBC.

Veterans cheer as President Trump takes to the stage in Kansas City, Missouri.
Carlos Barria / Reuters

Veterans cheer as President Trump takes to the stage in Kansas City, Missouri.

After the president's speech, VFW took to Twitter to publicly push back against his remarks and stood up for the outlets he consistently undercuts, including CNN and NBC.

Today, we were disappointed to hear some of our members boo the press during President Trump's remarks. We rely on the media to spread the VFW message, and @CNN, @NBCNews, @ABC, @FoxNews, @CBSNews, & others on site today, were our invited guests. We were happy to have them there.

People applauded the VFW for its statement.

Kudos to the VFW leadership. Has any other organization pushed back at Trump after inviting him to appear? (Boy Scouts apologized, “to those in our Scouting family who were offended by the political rhetoric...”) https://t.co/rIWZH6Q8lb

And others shared the VFW's support of the media.

@PhilipRucker I'm a life member of the VFW and a subscriber to WaPo. Keep on doing what you and your team are doing sir. Many vets read and appreciate it.

"As a veteran, I am disappointed to have heard fellow vets boo at members of the free press," one person said. "We all took an oath to protect the Constitution. All of it."

1/2 - As a veteran, I am disappointed to have heard fellow vets boo at members of a free press. We all took an oath to protect the Constitution. All of it. Some @VFWHQ disavowed that oath today. Spreading the VFW message is not as important as continued support of a free press. https://t.co/n3qGjqzBqI

Others, however, were upset with the veterans organization for hosting the president, who avoided the draft several times due to a bone spur, and for not taking stronger action against his remarks.

@VFWHQ @CNN @NBCNews @ABC @FoxNews @CBSNews As an Army veteran I was considering joining the VFW. But I never will. For you to host an event that inspires hatred of our constitutional freedom of the press supports only the enemies we guard against. Clean you act up or dissolve the organization.

On top of the fact that troops serve to protect freedom--including freedom of the press--many of the VA beat reporters in attendance are veterans themselves. By facilitating this predictable spectacle, @VFWHQ really discredited themselves and the entire community today. https://t.co/Xu3owf7shE

Yeah, I'm cancelling payments on my membership. This is a remarkably weak response, especially considering that when you're talking about attendees at the National Convention, those "some of our members" are actually pretty much all VFW leadership. https://t.co/9IgPiw6qsB

Trump is known for criticizing the press and almost anyone else who disagrees with him during his speeches, even at events normally devoid of politicized rhetoric. Almost a year ago, the Boy Scouts of America issued an apologetic statement after Trump delivered an overtly political speech in which he also lashed out at the media during their national jamboree.

Dwight Perry, a 66-year-old Army vet, told the Washington Post that the president should not have politicized their convention. "This is not what you do at a VFW convention. ... He didn't have to come out here and talk about how great he is," the vet said.

Army vet Dwight Perry, 66, speaking to @PhilipRucker after Trump's @VFWHQ speech: “This was a political speech. This is not what you do at a VFW convention... He didn’t have to come out here and talk about how great he is. That’s not what you do here.” https://t.co/yUd4wyLwtL

Many veterans reportedly decided to skip the president's speech. At the last minute, the organization moved Trump's event from the convention center to the auditorium.

Oof. Yesterday VFW announced last-minute that Trump's speech was being moved out of the convention center and into the auditorium. Appears they couldn't fill the auditorium, either. https://t.co/JptvT0Z0Gz

Many seats, however, seemed to have remained empty.

The events today were moved from the Convention Center Hall into the Municipal Auditorium which accommodates 7,000. Doors are now closed and there are many empty seats on the balconies and toward the back. https://t.co/FPFWvhFMtM

Law, the VFW spokesperson, said about 4,000 people attended the speech, and that moving Trump to the smaller auditorium was a White House decision.

The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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