Donald Trump's campaign is having a rough couple of weeks. Following the first presidential debate, the GOP nominee has dealt with scandals regarding his taxes, softcore porn and legal issues involving his charitable foundation.
Now Trump's campaign has another set of issues to clean up. On Monday (3 October), Trump came under fire for comments he made regarding veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In an event hosted by the Retired American Warriors PAC, Trump implied that service members develop mental health issues because they "can't handle it" and are not "strong".
"When you talk about the mental health problems, when people come back from war and combat, they see things that maybe a lot of the 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," he said, according to The Washington Post. "And they see horror stories, they see events that you couldn't see in a movie — nobody would believe it."
Commenting on suicides among veterans — a mental health epidemic among veterans — Trump said they happened because veterans are not able to quickly make an appointment for "what could be a simple procedure, a simple prescription."
Trump's campaign defended his remarks and accused the press of taking his words out of context. "The media continues to operate as the propaganda arm of Hillary Clinton as they took Mr Trump's words out of context in order to deceive voters and veterans — an appalling act that shows they are willing to go to any length to carry water for their candidate of choice," said retired Lieutenant General, Michael Flynn, one of the GOP nominee's advisers.
Uproar over his remarks on veterans followed a new report by The Associated Press that alleges he repeatedly made sexist and lewd comments towards the female contestants of his reality-based show, The Apprentice. Trump allegedly rated the size of their breasts and discussed who he would like to have sex with.
Eight former crew members of the show told the AP that Trump had made several inappropriate comments about a camerawoman and even compared her beauty to that of his eldest daughter, Ivanka. Trump also requested female contestants wear shorter dresses that revealed more cleavage, the AP reported.
At times, Trump would ask male contestants if they would have sex with a particular female contestant before telling them of his own interest. "We were in the boardroom one time figuring out who to blame for the task, and he just stopped in the middle and pointed to someone and said, 'You'd f*** her, wouldn't you? I'd f*** her. C'mon, wouldn't you?" a former crew member said.
Trump's campaign denied the allegations in a statement from campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks. "These outlandish, unsubstantiated, and totally false claims fabricated by publicity hungry, opportunistic, disgruntled former employees, have no merit whatsoever," Hicks said. "The Apprentice was one of the most successful prime-time television shows of all time and employed hundreds of people over many years, many of whom support Mr Trump's candidacy."
The Republican nominee has a week before the next presidential debate to refocus his campaign on issues central to the election. If not, he risks losing any advantage he was gaining against Clinton.