Trump steals credit for Obama's veterans health plan just in time for Memorial Day


Trump and his team used the week leading up to Memorial Day to tell lies about their support for the troops.

Trump is trying to take credit for improvements to the veterans' health care system that were made under President Barack Obama, long before Trump was sworn in as president.

Trump and his Veterans Affairs secretary, Robert Wilkie, used the week leading up to Memorial Day to promote their latest distortions on the issue, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday. The AP fact check noted that Trump and Wilkie "are claiming full credit for health care improvements that were underway before they took office."

"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 told supporters at a May 20 rally, claiming that his administration passed these plans.

VA Choice allows veterans to see private doctors if their wait is over 30 days, or if they must drive more than 40 miles to see a physician. The Trump administration modestly reduced those limits to 20 days and 30 minutes, respectively, a change that will go into effect June 6.

But Trump didn't pass Veterans Choice. President Obama did — back in 2014, when Trump was still busy pushing racist "birther" conspiracy theories to attack Obama.

"You’ve risked your lives on multiple tours to defend our nation. And as a country, we have a sacred obligation to serve you as well as you’ve served us — an obligation that doesn’t end with your tour of duty," Obama told troops at Fort Belvoir, Virginia on August 7, 2014 as he signed the legislation.

The AP also noted that Wilkie "is distorting the facts" by claiming that his team improved waiting times at VA medical centers and added same-day mental health service.

"The study cited by Wilkie on wait times covers the period from 2014 to 2017, before Wilkie took the helm as VA secretary. Same-day mental health services at VA were started during the Obama administration under Wilkie’s predecessor, David Shulkin," the AP reported.

Trump has previously lied about the military and his related policies while trying to downplay the accomplishments of the Obama administration.

Trump claimed in his budget, released in March, that he had proposed the largest pay raise for troops since 2009. But Trump's proposal for a 3.1% pay increase is below the raises of 3.9% and 3.4% that Obama instituted in 2009 and 2010.

In fact, the Trump administration forwarded a proposal to cut pay to veterans. And Trump's budget director testified to Congress in March that this pay cut wasn't a big deal, noting, "we don't think it will have any adverse impact."

In May, Trump tried to raid funds supporting Afghan security services — who are fighting the Taliban alongside American soldiers — in an attempt to go over the head of Congress and redirect $1.5 billion to his border wall project.

Trump's record on the military is one of disrespect and discrimination. No amount of boasting or lying about supporting the troops will change that.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.