Donald Trump took his presidential campaign Sunday to a group he frequently boasts about aiding — veterans.
Speaking at the annual Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally in Washington, D.C., the presumptive GOP presidential nominee told those gathered on the Mall, including veterans and their families, that the U.S. treats “illegal immigrants” better than veterans.
“We have to take care of our vets, and in many cases, illegal immigrants are taken better care of by this country than our vets, and that’s not going to happen,” Trump said at the rally, which is held annually to honor members of the military missing in action or made prisoners of war.
Motorcyclists gathered at the Pentagon and rode around the National Mall, before holding a rally by the Reflecting Pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
Trump reiterated his pledge to “knock the hell” out of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on Sunday and promised to strengthen the military if elected.
“We’re going to make it bigger and bigger and better and stronger than ever before,” Trump said. “We have no choice. We have to do it.”
Trump often mentions veterans at his rallies, pledging to “take care of our vets” at nearly every campaign stop.
In January, he held a fundraiser for veterans in Iowa in lieu of attending a Republican debate, though he is facing scrutiny over when that money will be doled out and whether he actually raised the $6 million he claimed. He said Sunday he would release a final accounting of his fundraising for military veterans Tuesday.
“All of the groups that have gotten the money will be announced on Tuesday and it’s going to be a great day,” Trump said Sunday afternoon.
But he angered angered veterans earlier in his campaign when he slammed Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who was a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War.
“I like people who weren’t captured,” Trump said last July. He has refused to apologize for those comments, though McCain demanded one earlier this month.
“There’s a body of American heroes who would like to see him retract that statement,” McCain said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”