Trump insults vets by trying to put a lobbyist in charge of their care


Veterans don't want the VA to be privatized, but Trump is ignoring them by pushing a privatization zealot as his top candidate to run the agency.

Trump is pushing for a lobbyist who wants to privatize veterans' health care to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. Yet some of the largest veterans groups are on record opposing privatization.

Stars and Stripes reports that former Republican congressman Jeff Miller is the "leading contender" for the nomination after the spectacular failure of Trump's hand-picked choice, Dr. Ronny Jackson.

The Trump administration could never explain Jackson's qualifications to oversee a system responsible for millions of people. And questions about Jackson's behavior as a physician unearthed during a Senate investigation scuttled the nomination.


When Miller worked on the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, he was a champion of the VA Choice system, which brings privatized health providers into the government-run system.

His support of VA Choice meshes well with this White House, which has pushed for privatization while giving lip service to veterans groups.

The Trump administration already tried an expansion of VA Choice in 2017, and Trump's official budget proposed an expansion as well.

The American Legion warned about "cannibalization of services needed for the Choice program" and characterized it as a "stealth privatization attempt, which the American Legion fully opposes."

Will Fischer, a Marine veteran of the Iraq War and director of government relations for VoteVets, called Miller "a non-starter to lead" the department. He also labeled him a "courtesan" of the right-wing billionaire Koch brothers.

The Kochs have pushed for the privatization though their front group, Concerned Veterans for America. Indeed, Fischer noted that this was "a goal" of the group.

Trump has painted a target on those who have served the country ever since he took over the presidency. He has shortchanged homeless veterans and pushed to hurt 7 million vets by repealing health care reform. His former VA secretary used taxpayer funds to finance luxury travel jaunts.

Veterans do not want the system they rely on to be privatized. They have spoken out against putting leaders with such an agenda at the head of that system.

But Trump is simply ignoring them.