Donald Trump believes present-day America is going to hell.
“We have to get back to rebuilding our country, because our country is going to hell,” the Republican presidential nominee said Tuesday afternoon during a campaign stop at Virginia Beach’s Sandler Center for the Performing Arts.
“We’re destroying our planet. We’re destroying ourselves,” Trump added.
Trump’s Virginia Beach visit came 63 days before he is slated to face off in the polls against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Trump spoke about his opponent, calling Clinton a “disaster in so many ways.” He pointed toward her dealings with President Barack Obama as a sign of poor leadership.
“I don’t even really think she believes in herself,” Trump said of Clinton.
Clinton and Obama weren’t the only ones Trump criticized; he also came down on the Department of Veterans Affairs, calling the agency’s administration a disaster.
Trump pointed to long wait times for veterans who need to see a doctor. He promised to reform the VA with a 10-point plan that would allow veterans to skip long lines and go to any doctor or hospital for treatment.
“You’re going to get taken care of, and your government is going to pay the bill,” he said.
Not all veterans agree with Trump’s vision for military affairs.
Navy veteran and Chair of the Norfolk Democratic Party Linwood Fisher said he doesn’t feel comfortable having Trump as commander in chief.
Fisher said Trump doesn’t have good judgment when it comes to using military power, and he shouldn’t have “his finger on the button” that could detonate nuclear weapons.
“All you have to do is send out a negative tweet, and his whole mood changes. He goes ballistic,” Fisher said outside the Sandler Center before the campaign event.
Trump’s speech touched on national security. He said he wants to see safe havens built for Syrian refugees – but he wants someone else to foot the bill.
“We’ll have other people build them. We’ll have other people fund them,” Trump said.
Thirty-five-year Virginia Beach resident Myrna Ward said she supports Trump’s views on national security, and that she wants to see stronger laws surrounding immigration.
“Democrats want to have open borders. I think it’s quite dangerous,” Ward said. “(Trump) wants to monitor immigration. He wants to vet people before they come in.”
Trump also talked about the Islamic State group, whose evolution he credits to Obama. Trump said that Obama removing American troops from Iraq left room for terrorism to grow.
“We should have left a small force (in Iraq)” Trump said. “Really ISIS just evolved from all of the turmoil, all of the weakness, all of the stupidity of decisions by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.”
Trump commented on the Islamic State group’s ability to use the internet to recruit and influence followers around the world. He suggested that America partner with other countries, like Russia, who have a beef with the Islamic State group.
“We have to knock out ISIS. We have to knock them out good,” Trump said.
Trump supporter and Virginia Beach resident William Bernstein said he appreciates Trump’s willingness to call out the Islamic State group.
“He’s not afraid to say radical Islam,” Bernstein said. “Trump is for America, and he has what it takes.“
Mayfield can be reached at 352-431-9612.