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#TBT: Trump Didn’t Want Disabled Vets Near Trump Tower, Petitioned to Have Them Removed

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 10.44.06 AMIn a statement following his announcement that he would not be participating in tonight’s GOP debate on Fox News, Donald Trump‘s campaign said, “[He will] host an event in Iowa to raise money for the Veterans and Wounded Warriors, who have been treated so horribly by our all talk, no action politicians.” This morning, Ben Ferguson contrasted that with statements the real estate tycoon made in 1991 and 2004, when he tried to get homeless and disabled veterans kicked off of Fifth Avenue in front of the famed Trump Tower.

Trump is decrying “all talk, no action politicians” now just as he was in the 1990s, though the action he wanted the New York State Assembly to take then regarding disabled veterans was markedly different than the action he is blaming President Barack Obama‘s administration for not taking now. (It should be noted, too, that actions that have been taken by some organizations to aid veterans have turned out not to be all they claim to be.) In a 1991 letter to the Assembly, he wrote, “While disabled veterans should be given every opportunity to earn a living, is it fair to do so to the detriment of the city as a whole or its tax paying citizens and businesses?”

By “detriment of the city,” the future GOP frontrunner meant “detriment of Trump Tower,” which sits on Fifth Avenue. While it is known as a ritzy shopping district in New York, Fifth Avenue is also the home of dozens of opportunistic street vendors. Many of them are disabled veterans who are given special licenses by the Department of Consumer Affairs. According to The Daily News, the protections and exceptions extended to peddling veterans date back to the 1890s and were created to give those who were disabled in the Civil War an opportunity to support themselves.

Though previous attempts to relocate veterans to streets where they would make less money didn’t work, Trump was undeterred. In 2004, he wrote to then-mayor and possible future presidential rival Michael Bloomberg, imploring him to help get rid of the wounded warriors on his street.

“Whether they are veterans or not, they should not be allowed to sell on this most important and prestigious shopping street,” he wrote. “The image of New York City will suffer… I hope you can stop this very deplorable situation before it is too late.”

The GOP debate and Trump’s counter-event begin in 10 hours, so get your strongest drinks ready because this topic is sure to come up once or twice or 15 times tonight.

[image via screengrab]

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This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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