During a Fox News GOP presidential debate, a Marine who had been disfigured by a bomb while serving in the military had a chance to tell his story in the spotlight with presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Two of Cpl. Porta's fellow Marines were killed in an IED explosion. Porta then faced over 100 surgeries at Veterans Administration hospitals. Now he is a spokesman for Veterans for Trump.
All eyes were on Corporal Tony Porta as he told his harrowing story of running up against the VA hospital, and he asked the GOP hopeful what he planned to do about the many problems the VA is facing.
“I am really, really hurt about my two friends,” Porta said, looking Trump in the eye. “But I'm here for a reason. I'm here to fight, I'm here to help my fellow veterans.”
In a powerful moment on camera, the vet describes how he was injured, how he struggled to recover, and how he's being treated by the VA today.
“I was really struggling. I was in San Antonio for six years, over a hundred surgeries, just to be this way,” Porta said. “I went back home—home wasn't home anymore.”
Porta described some of the VAs he frequented as “awful,” while giving better marks to a smaller VA he went to later. The Marine vet described waiting for weeks for certain necessary treatments. He also expressed concern for veterans who commit suicide due to PTSD and other struggles.
Trump reiterated his support for veterans and called the VA “corrupt.” The presidential candidate then seemed to suggest private vouchers for veterans who have trouble getting treatment at VAs.
Corporal Porta then closed with a heartfelt appeal to the Republican candidate.
“When you become president, I don't want you to work for those guys who are giving tons of money to a lot of people,” he said, adding, “I want you to work for us.”