The Texas Republican doubled down on his bold view that the nation taking care of its military veterans is a terrible idea.
Earlier this week, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), a veteran who has taken advantage of the benefits he earned during his service as a Navy SEAL, criticized Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for wanting to better take care of those returning from war.
On Thursday, he doubled down on his view that politicians should stop worrying and just let the veterans fend for themselves.
On Fox News, Crenshaw was asked about his earlier comments and stood by his complaints.
"On a deeper level, I have always disliked it when politicians start pandering to veterans and telling us how bad we have it and that if we just vote for them, that they'll fix all of our problems," the first-term congressman said. "That is just not true. It also gets to a really false choice which is why we went to war in the first place. I went there because our country needed it. We went there because it was in the best interest of our country. I wasn't thinking down the road about being taken care of."
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), between 11% and 20% of those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan face PTSD each year. Approximately half a million veterans lacked health insurance in 2016, according to the Census Bureau. And while unemployment rates for veterans have declined in recent years, hundreds of thousands still remain unemployed, according to the Department of Labor. And even getting accurate wait time information for VA hospitals remains a major challenge.
Crenshaw did offer that caveat that "that doesn't mean we shouldn't take care of our veterans," but accused Sanders of falsely suggesting improving the VA wasn't a "bipartisan issue."
"What he is doing is he is trying to rile people up," he complained. "He's trying to make people angry. He is trying to tell victims or trying to tell veterans that they are victims. And that only he can take care of them. I just think that's such a dishonest way to do politics, and I think he should be called out for it."
But while Crenshaw's ire is aimed at a Democratic presidential hopeful, he did not seem bothered with then-candidate Donald Trump when he did exactly what Crenshaw is objecting to, throughout his 2016 campaign.
"Just left Virginia where I unveiled my healthcare and other plans for our great Veterans!" he tweeted in October 2015. "They will be very happy!
Trump frequently bashed the Obama administration's treatment of veterans and promised huge improvements.
"The current state of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is absolutely unacceptable," he claimed in a position paper. "Over 300,000 veterans died waiting for care. Corruption and incompetence were excused. Politicians in Washington have done too little too slowly to fix it. This situation can never happen again, and when Donald J. Trump is president, it will be fixed – fast."
Trump vowed to "ensure our veterans get the care they need wherever and whenever they need it," and to "make the VA great again by firing the corrupt and incompetent VA executives who let our veterans down."
And in an October 2016 campaign stop, he promised, "We're going to take care of our vets like you've never been taken care of before. Remember that."
Nearly three years later, Crenshaw has yet to condemn Trump for this "pandering to veterans."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.