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Clinton hits Trump over PTSD remarks

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Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks at a voter registration rally at Zenbo Shrine October 4, 2016 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

HARRISBURG, Penn. – Hillary Clinton on Tuesday slammed Donald Trump for his inartful comments about veterans and military members who suffer from post-traumatic stress, calling her opponent’s remarks “ignorant” and “harmful.”

Speaking at a news conference in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the Democratic nominee warned that Trump was only helping to fuel the stigma that surrounds mental illness.

“Some of the strongest men and women we’ll ever meet have experienced post-traumatic stress,” Clinton said. “Donald Trump’s comments are not just ignorant — they’re harmful because they give voice to the stigma that has led generations of veterans to hide their struggles instead of getting life-saving help.”

Clinton said Trump’s remarks should be especially troubling given that he is running to be the country’s next commander in chief.

“Our troops deserve a commander in chief who understands and respects the sacrifices they make,” she said. “Every American dealing with mental health challenges deserves compassion whether they’ve ever served in uniform or not.”

Trump sparked an uproar Monday when he appeared to suggest that soldiers and veterans who commit suicide do so because they can’t handle post-traumatic stress of war.

During a panel in Herndon, Virginia, Trump said: “When people come back from war and combat and they see things that maybe a lot of folks in this room have seen many times over, and you’re strong and you can handle it but a lot of people can’t handle it.”

Trump’s critics and some veterans’ groups condemned Trump, saying his comments were yet another instance of the GOP nominee disrespecting veterans and the military.

Last year, Trump sparked outrage when he said about former prisoner-of-war and Arizona Sen. John McCain: “I like people who weren’t captured.”

“The constant disrespect Donald Trump shows towards our veterans and service members is sickening, and completely and totally disqualifying,” said Jon Soltz, an Iraq War veteran and head of the progressive VoteVets.org.

Trump’s supporters have insisted that the candidate’s remarks have been taken out of context and misconstrued.