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IAVA Commander in Chief Forum Dominates National Conversation

NEW YORK, NY (September 8, 2016) – Last night on the deck of the Intrepid Air & Space Museum, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump finally answered questions from diverse IAVA veterans focusing on national security, military affairs, and veterans issues during IAVA’s first ever Commander-in-Chief Forum event. Hosted by IAVA and broadcast live on NBC News and MSNBC, the groundbreaking forum engaged a live audience of primarily veterans and servicemembers and was watched in nearly 15 million homes across America.

“Last night, over 400,000 IAVA members and supporters helped make history for the veterans movement. Days before the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump spent an hour directly responding directly to hard questions from America’s finest,” said Paul Rieckhoff IAVA’s Founder and CEO. “It wasn’t a perfect night, but it was a huge win. Both Presidential candidates were finally forced to confront critical issues facing our community, including veteran suicide and military sexual assault. Clearly, one hour was not enough time to adequately address the range of issues facing our veterans, military families and families of the fallen. This event was not the end. It was just the beginning of an essential conversation and the first of many IAVA Commander-in-Chief Forum events. Our community has follow up questions. A lot of them.”

“93% of IAVA members worldwide say they’ll be voting in this election. All the way until Election Day, our members will keep asking candidates: Why should you be the next Commander in Chief?” Rieckhoff continued.

At the #IAVAForum, IAVA also issues a challenge to both candidates. In remarks from IAVA Leadership Fellow Aaron Mankin, commentary from IAVA CEO Paul Rieckhoff, and in letters delivered to both candidates, IAVA stated, “Whether they win or lose on November 8, IAVA challenged both Trump and Clinton to stand with us in New York on Veterans Day, November 11th and make good on their commitments to stand with our community for the long haul. If anything can unite the country after a divisive election, it’s America’s veterans.”

Watch the full Commander-in-Chief Forum program here.

Watch the expansive post-forum show with veterans co-hosted by Paul Rieckhoff and Rachel Maddow on MSNBC here.

Follow #IAVAForum to continue to the conversation beyond the questions offered last night.  A full list of the questions from veterans appears below:

QUESTION 1: Secretary Clinton, thank you very much for coming tonight. As a naval flight officer, I held a top secret sensitive compartmentalized information clearance. And that provided me access to materials and information highly sensitive to our warfighting capabilities. Had I communicated this information not following prescribed protocols, I would have been prosecuted and imprisoned.

Secretary Clinton, how can you expect those such as myself who were and are entrusted with America’s most sensitive information to have any confidence in your leadership as president when you clearly corrupted our national security?

QUESTION 2: Thank you. Secretary Clinton, to your point, you have had an extensive record with military intervention. How do you respond to progressives like myself who worry and have concerns that your hawkish foreign policy will continue? And what is your plan to end wasteful war campaigns in which our peers, servicewomen and men, continue to be killed and wounded?

QUESTION 3: Yes, Secretary Clinton, last October you said that surveys of veterans show that they’re overall satisfied with their treatment and that the problems with the V.A. aren’t as widespread as they’re made out to be. So do you think the problems with the V.A. have been made to seem worse than they really are?

QUESTION 4: Secretary Clinton, as an Army veteran, a commander-in- chief’s to empathize with servicemembers and their families is important to me. The ability to truly understand implications and consequences of your decisions, actions, or inactions. How will you determine when and where to deploy troops directly into harm’s way, especially to combat ISIS?

QUESTION 5: Mr. Trump, over the past 15 years, a lot of U.S. troops have bled and died securing towns and provinces from Iraq to Afghanistan, only to have insurgent groups like ISIS spring back the moment we leave. Now, you’ve claimed to have a secret plan to defeat ISIS. But you’re hardly the first politician to promise a quick victory and a speedy homecoming. So assuming we do defeat ISIS, what next? What is your plan for the region to ensure that a group like them doesn’t just come back?

QUESTION 6: Thank you. Do you believe that an undocumented person who serves – who wants to serve in the U.S. armed forces deserves to stay in this country legally?

QUESTION 7: I do. Mr. Trump, as you know, tensions between the United States and Russia have been at the highest level since the Cold War. In your first 120 days of presidency, how would you de-escalate the tensions? And more importantly, what steps would you take to bring Mr. Putin and the Russian government back to negotiating table?

QUESTION 8: I like what you say about supporting veterans and how they’re important. But I haven’t heard what the actual plans are to continue that support beyond words. How do you translate those words to action after you take office?

QUESTION 9: I do. Mr. Trump, I wanted to ask what your plan will be to stop 20 veterans a day from killing themselves.

QUESTION 10: Mr. Trump, I have a daughter who is interested in joining the service, but when she researched the military, she saw the stats on sexual assault and decided not to go. I have a concern about the rape of women in our armed forces. As president, what specifically would you do to support all victims of sexual assault in the military?

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