Presidential candidate and Congressman from Massachusetts Seth Moulton appeared on NH Talk Radio’s New Hampshire Now Monday, June 17 to discuss his recent exclusion from the 2020 democratic presidential debates as well as his struggles with PTSD and the military leadership in the country.
Congressman Moulton was one of three candidates excluded from round one of the democratic presidential debates. Moulton was not able to meet the 65,000 donor or one percent in three polls threshold that the Democratic National Committee requires for a candidate to be eligible for the debates. He feels as though the decision was unjust claiming that “It’s voters in places like New Hampshire that are going to decide who the best nominee is to take on Donald Trump not the folks sitting in the DNC in Washington D.C.” The Congressman went on to cite one of the reasons for him missing the criteria as being his late entry into the presidential race. He reaffirmed his legitimacy as a candidate by stating that his campaign succeeded in procuring the biggest fundraising day other than launch day in this campaign cycle. According to Moulton the DNC appears to be less concerned with the merit of the people running for president than they are with arbitrary thresholds.
This is not the first time that the Congressman has been behind in a race, he pointed out. When he first decided to run for Congress as a recently returned home combat veteran, he was told that he had no right running in that race. Moulton received the remarks of these people as them telling him “Do not participate in the democracy you risked your life to defend.” He was able to come back from a 53-point deficit to secure his position in congress. According to Moulton this showed the incumbent and the Washington establishment that the people want change and that is reflected today. The Congressman is not discouraged by his late entry into the race and plans on continuing his campaign on the ground. The DNC may not feel as though he is qualified, but he feels that his combat experience makes him more qualified for Commander in Chief than any other candidate.
With the rise of mental health issues Congressman Moulton is proud of being the first presidential candidate ever to come forward about personal experiences with mental health problems such as PTSD. According to Moulton, he is the only candidate to still receive his health care from the Department of Veteran Affairs, so he sees the need for mental health care first-hand. Due to this he feels it would be disingenuous to advocate for mental health awareness without sharing his story.
He recalled a mission in Baghdad from his time in the military where an innocent family was caught in the crossfire between the marines and the Saddam special forces. They drove past a boy from the family who was still alive, and despite Moulton’s urges to help the boy they continued their advance. He stated that if they stopped it would have endangered the lives of many of the marines. Even still the image haunted the Congressman resulting in nightmares and insomnia. After he sought out help, he felt as though the whole experience made him a better leader. Moulton relayed, “I do think it is a good thing that the first time I have to deal with another experience like this won’t be when I’m sitting in the White House.”
The Congressman revealed some of his plans for when he is in office regarding mental health in terms of military and normal citizens. He wants to administer annual mental health check ups for everyone on active duty. The check ups will be similar to annual physicals and he eventually wants to expand it past the military to the general public. On top of this proposal he wishes to create a national mental health hotline with a short dial number such as 5-1-1 so that it is easy to remember and more accessible. According to Moulton receiving mental health care is too difficult and this hotline will be a way to alleviate wait times.
After articulating his disagreement with the Iraq war Congressman Moulton was asked about Joe Biden’s support for it and whether or not it disqualifies him to be Commander in Chief. To this Moulton stated that it does not disqualify the former Vice President, but he should admit that the war was wrong and that his support was a mistake. The Congressman followed up by claiming “I do believe that it is time for the generation who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan to take over for the generation that sent us there.” He then took a moment to double down on his belief that his service in the military and his time on the Armed Service Committee in Washington is something that we need in the oval office.
Congressman Moulton finished by giving his opinion on the rising conflicts with Iran and their reentry into the nuclear weapon space. He believes that we should have strengthened the deal, and he blames President Trump for this conflict because he pulled out of the existing Iran deal without replacing it with anything. “It wasn’t perfect, but it was the best option that we had,” Moulton stated about the previous deal.
– Brayden Iturrondo