Donald Trump Tuesday slammed U.S. soldiers for their thefts of government funds in Iraq in a speech in North Carolina that came on the 241st anniversary of the Army.
"Iraq, crooked as hell," Trump told supporters at the Greensboro Coliseum, Politico reports.
"How about bringing baskets of money — millions and millions of dollars — and handing it out?
"I want to know who were the soldiers that had that job, because I think they’re living very well right now, whoever they may be," he said.
Trump's reference apparently was to reports that American military personnel siphoned off money from the U.S. government that was to be used for rebuilding Baghdad or many have been engaged in other crimes, such as bribery or theft, according to Politico.
The Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan watchdog group based in Washington, reported last year that "at least 115 enlisted personnel and military officers [were] convicted since 2005 of committing theft, bribery, and contract-rigging crimes valued at $52 million during their deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq," Politico reports.
But Hope Hicks, a Trump campaign spokeswoman, quickly issued a statement to Bloomberg News saying that the presumptive Republican nominee "was referring to Iraqi soldiers" with in his comments.
Trump has long talked of his support for the military and veterans. Greensboro is located about 90 miles northwest of Fort Bragg, one of the nation's largest Army bases, according to the report.
The Continental Army was formed on June 14, 1775.
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