Author and military veteran Dave Cullen told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin on Wednesday that if he had the chance to ask Hillary Clinton a question later that day at NBC News’ "Commander in Chief Forum," he would challenge the Democratic presidential candidate to the 22 pushup challenge.
"It’s astounding the Veterans Administration put out a report that 22 veterans die at their own hands per day, which is just astonishing. And right now, I’m taking part in the 22 pushup challenge, and I’m actually going to ask her if she would, perhaps, commit to doing it," Cullen said. "Which I think would actually be fantastic and would be a way of really making everyone aware of that."
Cullen said that he was waffling between asking Clinton about transgender service members, traumatic brain injuries, or veteran suicides. He said he was leaning towards veteran suicides.
The 22 pushup challenge raises awareness of the 20 veterans who commit suicide each day–the estimate had previously been 22 veterans before the release of a VA report in July–similar to the "ice bucket challenge" for ALS. A person challenges their friends to record themselves doing 22 pushups over the course of 22 days; those who were challenged then challenge others.
Cullen said he did not want to hear about the "wonderful" things the candidates were planning to do but wanted to hear about the specifics of how Clinton would address the issue of veteran suicides.
According to Cullen’s website, he is currently working on a book about two gay service members and had previously published the book Columbine, which is recognized as the definitive account on the tragic school shooting that took place in 1999.
Cullen served as an Infantry Drill Corporal for the U.S. Army.