Trump wrongly corrects Marine on veteran suicide statistic

Trump wrongly corrects Marine on veteran suicide statistic
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GOP presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald TrumpWhite House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine Poll: 30 percent of GOP voters believe Trump will 'likely' be reinstated this year Black Secret Service agent told Trump it was offensive to hold rally in Tulsa on Juneteenth: report MORE wrongly corrected a Marine veteran during a televised forum after she asked him what his plan would be to stop 20 veterans a day from committing suicide. 

"Mr. Trump, I wanted to ask what your plan will be to stop 20 veterans a day from killing themselves," said Rachel Fredericks, who served in the Marine Corps as an aviation operations specialist from 2008 to 2010. 

"And actually it's 22," Trump responded during the forum hosted by NBC News and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.


Fredericks, identified as an undecided Republican who is leaning Trump, grimaced and shook her head. 

Trump then added, "And it's almost impossible to conceive that this is happening in our country. Twenty to 22 people a day are killing themselves." 

Although the rate of veterans suicide was previously estimated to be 22 a day, the Department of Veterans' Affairs updated that number to 20 in August. 

Trump in July received praise from a Washington Post fact-checking article for correctly citing the statistic of 20 veteran suicides a day.

Some researchers have discouraged emphasizing either number without context. 

Despite the lower number, the suicide rate among veterans has increased by nearly a third since 2001. The number of suicides per day has lowered as the veteran population declines due to deaths from old age.


The exchange came during the first presidential forum to specifically address questions from veterans, whom both Clinton and Trump have courted.

Trump then pivoted to veteran healthcare, saying that veterans were not getting the care they needed. 

"A lot of it is they're killing themselves over the fact that they can't — they're under tremendous pain and they can't see a doctor," he said.

"We're going to speed up the process. We're going to create a big mental health division. They need help. They need help. They need tremendous help, and we're doing nothing for them. The VA is really almost you could say a corrupt enterprise," he said. 

The VA study found a higher rate of suicide among veterans who did not use VA services, compared to those who did. 

Suicide rates for male veterans who used VA services increased by 11 percent since 2001, compared to 35 percent for those who did not. 

Among female veterans, the rate of increase was 4.6 percent among those who used VA services, compared to 98 percent for those who did not.