Dan Crenshaw calls health care for veterans 'pandering' even though he uses it


The Republican congressman from Texas mocked Sen. Bernie Sanders for wanting to take care of veterans.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) accused Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) of "pandering" after Sanders expressed a desire to take care of veterans returning home after fighting war.

"If you can't afford to take care of your veterans, then don't go to war," Sanders wrote on Twitter this past Sunday. On Tuesday, Crenshaw, a veteran, took time out of his day to attack Sanders for wanting to take care of veterans.

"Watching Bernie pander to different groups to get their vote has always disgusted me, but now it's personal," Crenshaw wrote, alluding to the fact that Sanders is a presidential candidate. "I didn't go to war so that you would take care of me, Bernie. I went because I wanted to serve and our country needed it."

Sanders sits on the Veterans' Affairs Committee, and has a long record in Congress of fighting for health care not only for veterans, but to expand health care to all Americans.

Crenshaw served as a Navy SEAL in Afghanistan and lost an eye while serving the country. And while he may not have signed up for military service thinking about the veterans care he would receive, Crenshaw has not shied away from the taking advantage of the benefits he earned.

A Military Times article from April notes that Crenshaw "has received care at four different VA facilities since his return from the war."

Crenshaw's dismissive comments about caring for veterans irked VoteVets, an advocacy group that supports veterans.

"Veterans don't go to war for benefits, but they expect our politicians will keep their word to take care of them when they get home," Will Goodwin, an Army veteran and director of government relations for VoteVets, said in a statement. "Bernie is right — if politicians aren't ready to keep their word to our war veterans, they should not launch wars."

Referring to Crenshaw's comments, Goodwin added, "We'd hope that Dan Crenshaw is not suggesting that his colleagues would be justified in leaving his fellow veterans behind."

Elisa Cardnell, a veteran who is challenging Crenshaw in 2020, defended the notion of taking care of veterans.

"As a veteran, I rely on the VA for 100% of my health care," Cardnell said in a statement. "This is personal for me too. We made a promise to our service members that if they are willing to give their lives for our country, we must be willing to care for them. From fully funding the VA to making sure that no vet is homeless, we must do more to take care of our veterans."

In November 2018, Crenshaw noted that "the left and right can still agree on some things" an encouraged Americans to "remember what brings us together as a country." But now he's using the issue of health care for veterans to attack his opponents across the aisle.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.