The Associated Press took on President Donald Trump and Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie in a Memorial Day fact-check for taking credit for improvements to veterans care that were enacted by former President Barack Obama.
If there’s one group of Americans Trump has used as a prop more than any other, it’s the military and the veterans who fought for our country. And Trump sure does love taking credit for Obama’s successes.
At this time of year when veterans are at the forefront of our minds, Trump brags about how much he supposedly loves the military and claims to have done a lot for them, even if it means taking credit for what his predecessor did.
For instance, Trump recently claimed to have signed VA Choice and VA Accountability into law during a recent rally.
“We passed VA Choice and VA Accountability to give our veterans the care that they deserve and they have been trying to pass these things for 45 years,” Trump said.
The problem is that Trump did no such thing because Obama is the one who actually did it, as the Associated Press explained.
Wrong. Trump is not the first president in 45 years to get Congress to pass Veterans Choice; Obama did it in the wake of a scandal at VA’s medical center in Phoenix, where some veterans died while waiting months for appointments. The program currently allows veterans to see doctors outside the VA system if they must wait more than 30 days for an appointment or drive more than 40 miles (65 kilometers) to a VA facility.
Trump also makes sure his officials give him credit for things Obama did for veterans, which is why the AP had to rip Wilkie a new one as well.
“The first thing I did was change out the leadership at VA,” Wilkie said on Fox News. “(The president) also allowed me to change out leadership in the VA centers. If someone wasn’t walking the post, getting to know the people who work for her or him, or getting to know those veterans, they had to leave. And, as a result, the Journal of the American Medical Association this year said that our waiting times are now as good or better than any in the private sector.”
“It’s true that a study by the medical association came out in January that found wait times at VA medical centers on average were better than the private sector,” the AP conceded. “But the improvement wasn’t a “result” of anything that Wilkie did: The study involved a period largely covering the Obama administration — and before Wilkie became acting VA secretary in late March 2018.”
And that’s not the only lie Wilkie told.
“One of the things that we’re doing at VA is that we have same-day mental health service,” he said. “It is huge.”
Except that started under Obama.
“Same-day mental health service started at VA before Trump took office in January 2017, let alone Wilkie,” the AP noted.
Trump hasn’t made much progress for veterans so he has to take credit for what other presidents have done. In fact, Trump recently made a move to disrupt healthcare for thousands of veterans and is ending several programs that directly benefit them and their families. Even his tax law hurt military families.
If Trump really cared about veterans, he would stop using them as props and start doing something to help them for real instead of pretending, especially on Memorial Day, because that just makes his lies more insulting and more disrespectful.
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