All you have to do to get your ideas in front of the Secretary of the VA is be Mar-a-Lago golf pals with Donald Trump.
It's no secret that Trump has an out-sized response to flattery, but this is pathetic even by Trump standards.
A Mar-a-Lago golf buddy of Donald Trump's got Trump to pass along his handwritten proposal to the then-head of the VA, David Shulkin — and all it took was kissing up to Trump.
The handwritten note, of course penned on Mar-a-Lago stationary, was addressed "Dear King" and closed with "Love ya president."
In between, things aren't any better.
The fawning note came from cosmetic dentist Albert Hazzouri, who is a frequent Mar-a-Lago guest. The note suggests that Trump set up a meeting with the American Dental Association (ADA) to discuss creating an oversight committee to "stop the waste" and "save the administration $250 million."
The note is vague to a fault, and when Hazzouri was asked about it, he said he'd only sent a note on behalf of the ADA and that he knew there was "a lot of money" spent on dental care for veterans and Native Americans, and he thought the ADA "wanted to have a little hand in it."
Trump being Trump, he read this hazy handwritten message and decided it was somehow worth passing along to Shulkin.
All this comes on the heels of another tawdry and corrupt incident involving Trump's Mar-a-Lago cronies and the VA. Last year it came to light that three of Trump's ultra-rich buddies with no experience in government whatsoever, Marvel Entertainment Chairman and CEO Isaac "Ike" Perlmutter, Palm Beach doctor Bruce Moskowitz, and lawyer Marc Sherman, exerted a shocking amount of control over the department.
The trio of Trump pals was reviewing $10 billion government contracts, setting up electronic records projects, and trying to push the VA to partner with Apple. They also helped vet candidates to lead the department. None of these men were elected or appointed to do anything of the sort.
Thanks to Democrats retaking the House during the 2018 midterms, though, this cozy crony arrangement is now under investigation by Congress.
In an administration rife with corruption, Mar-a-Lago stands out as proof that Trump can be bought for next to nothing. Golf at his club, send him a fawning note, and you can apparently help create policies that affect over 9 million veterans.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.