Political theater at its finest, Ted Nugent said troops are telling him that they’re killing themselves because of President Obama.
“Here’s your job, Republican Party,” Nugent told an audience of silverware clinging against porcelain plates. “Twenty to 25 of those guys kill themselves every day, and they haven’t told you why, and they haven’t told anybody else why, but they told me why: because the Commander-in-Chief is the enemy.”
The statement capture on video, which was aggregated by the left-leaning website Right Wing Watch, is not given any context other than it was said during the Lincoln Day Dinner in Maricopa County, Arizona, on March 28.
Patrons who paid $250 a plate or $2,000 a table got to meet the aging rocker. Other presenters included Congressmen Matt Salmon, David Schweikert, Trent Franks, Sheriff Joe Arpaio and County Attorney Bill Montgomery.
This is not the first time Nugent connected veteran suicide to the president. Last May, during an interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, Nugent blamed what he views as Obama’s violations of the U.S. Constitutions as motive for veterans’ suicide as opposed to mental illness or post traumatic stress disorder.
Besides his politically charged explanation for veteran suicide, Nugent cited the widely used statistic of 22 veteran suicides a day. While the figure is reliable estimate, it lacks context, according to Politifact.
The estimate is based on data from 21 states and derives from the overall number of suicide deaths in the U.S. And more complete reviews puts estimates at 1 veteran suicide day, however, the rate of suicide for veterans is much higher than for civilians.
Nonetheless, veteran suicide, suicide among active servicemen and veteran affairs are growing issues in the U.S. that are all too often trivialized by personal and political agendas.