Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) announced late Thursday both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have agreed to participate in the first-ever live televised presidential forum hosted by veterans, focused exclusively on the top “issues the next president will have to confront as commander-in-chief.”
Paul Rieckhoff, founder and chief executive officer of the nonprofit, said in a statement the forum is a “significant event that will ensure that America’s next commander-in-chief, at least for one night, addresses our nation’s moral obligation to support and empower its 22 million veterans, our service members, and our military families.”
“[Veterans and servicemen] are ready to hear from the candidates and hold them accountable.”
“IAVA is proud to lead this historic event for our veterans community and all Americans,” Rieckhff said.
The one-hour event is set for Sept. 7 in New York City and will be simulcast on NBC and MSNBC, three weeks before Trump and Clinton go head-to-head in the first general election debate.
The two presidential candidates will answer questions regarding “national security, military affairs, and veterans issues from NBC News and an audience comprised mainly of military veterans and active service members.”
“On the cusp of the 15th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, New York is a fitting stage to give voice to American veterans and service members that are all-too-often shut out of our political debate,” Rieckhoff said.
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The nonpartisan, nonprofit organization founded in 2004 is self-described as the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization, with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America.
Rieckhff said 93 percent of IAVA members worldwide will be voting in November, “and many deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan right now are ready to hear from the candidates and hold them accountable.”