Trump only cares about veterans when the cameras are on.
Last Wednesday, Trump signed the bill into law during an elaborately staged ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House. But hours after the cameras were shut off and the cast of grateful vets and politicians had dispersed, Trump began working against the law he had just signed.
The night of the bill signing, Trump quietly released a statement objecting to three oversight provisions of the law, saying he would not treat them as mandatory. Several veterans' groups expressed concern about the statement.
Trump's White House also circulated a memo to Congress objecting to a Senate plan to pay for the Mission Act, arguing the law ought to be funded by spending cuts to other programs.
Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN), the ranking Democrat on the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, explained to the Washington Post that the White House plan could short-change other reforms for veterans:
"As it stands, current budget caps will not allow for this level of spending to occur without requiring deep cuts to existing VA programs," he said. "This means current programs investing in VA infrastructure, direct patient care, suicide prevention, medical research, job training and many more vital veterans programs could face cuts in funding in order to pay for care in the community under this new plan, something the Veteran Service Organizations have warned against. This paints a clear picture of a VA forced to cannibalize itself in order to pay for care in the private sector. Unfortunately, multiple amendments offered by my fellow House Democrats and me to fix these funding issues were voted down by Republicans."
"It’s just like Donald Trump to sign a deal, and then not pay for it," said Will Fischer, Iraq war veteran and director of government relations for VoteVets, in a statement to Shareblue Media. "So, as he’s done many times in his life, Donald Trump has made a big production, but when it comes to paying, he’s going to leave us high and dry."
Trump's concern for veterans runs about as deep as last Wednesday's photo op. When the cameras are off, Trump shows the true colors of a leader who has consistently disrespected our bravest and lets them down at every turn.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.