Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), the Iraq war veteran and three-term congressman, has decided to end his long-shot candidacy for president, reports The New York Times.
A moderate liberal, Moulton launched his campaign in late April, in part, on a message of beating President Trump. “The greatest generation saved our country from tyranny. It’s time for our generation to step up and do the same,” said Moulton in his campaign launch video. “And most importantly, we need to restore our moral authority in everything we do.”
Moulton ultimately failed to gain traction, having had the unfortunate timing of announcing his candidacy mere days before fellow moderate and former Vice President Joe Biden, reports the Times. Although Moulton is now bowing out, he has declined to endorse Biden despite stating he believes the former vice president would “make a great president,” according to the Times.
Moulton has been an advocate for mental health, particularly for veterans, and gained national attention in May when he disclosed that he suffered from post-traumatic stress upon returning from his fourth tour in Iraq, reports Politico.
“I had some particular experiences or regrets from the war that I just thought about every day, and occasionally I’d have bad dreams or wake up in a cold sweat,” said Moulton. “It took me a while to appreciate that I was dealing with post-traumatic stress and I was dealing with an experience that a lot of other veterans have.”
To help other veterans, Moulton unveiled a plan that would use executive action to fill empty mental-health positions at the Veteran’s Affairs Office and require active-duty personnel to undergo annual mental-health check-ups, Politico notes. In total, the plan would have cost $3 billion.
As reported by CBS Boston, Moulton co-sponsored a bill earlier this week to create a three-digit suicide hotline phone number, similar to the number for emergency services, 9-1-1. Last August, President Trump signed a law requiring government agencies to work toward improving the existing suicide hotline system, reported the Washington Examiner.
Over 47,000 Americans committed suicide in 2017, the most recent year with data available from the CDC.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255 (TALK)