Trump targeted three veterans during his venomous speech to the NRA Friday, repeating his pattern of contempt for those who have served in the U.S. military. He attacked former Secretary of State John Kerry for his approach to diplomacy, and for some reason brought up his participation in a bicycle race “where he fell and broke his leg.”
Just a few hours after the White House publicly defended President Donald Trump’s nomination of Ronny Jackson to become secretary of Veterans Affairs, the New York Times reported new details about the allegations against the rear admiral that threaten to sink the possibility of his appointment.
Tester revealed the allegations Tuesday on NPR’s “All Things Considered” after Jackson’s confirmation hearings were delayed. Reports about Jackson’s alleged misconduct first emerged Monday night, and both Republican and Democratic senators have been reviewing the claims against the rear admiral.
In a private meeting last week with major veterans groups, Kelly repeatedly said that the decision to remove Shulkin was President Donald Trump’s, according to several people who were present or briefed on the meeting. The White House has insisted that Shulkin resigned, disputing his assertion, in media appearances, that he was fired. (Whether voluntarily or not, his tenure as VA secretary ended on March 29.)
If those were causes for dismissal in the Trump administration, nearly his entire cabinet would have been replaced by now. That tweet signaling the removal of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin — an Obama administration holdover widely regarded as one of the few able appointees in the cabinet — wasn’t provoked by any such offense.
Jackson came to national attention in January, when he appeared in the White House press room to give a report on the president’s physical exam. The briefing quickly turned into a festival of idolatry. Trump’s health is “excellent,” Jackson declared over and over, attesting that the president has “incredible cardiac fitness” and “incredible genes.”
Donald Trump did the inevitable Wednesday night and dismissed embattled Veteran Affairs Secretary David Shulkin. The former Obama official has been replaced by the president’s personal physician, Admiral Ronny Jackson, who has no qualifiable leadership experience and raised millions of eyebrows last year after publicly proclaiming that Trump was “in excellent health.”
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) is not afraid to step into battle. After losing both of her legs while serving in the Iraq War, Duckworth joined the U.S. Senate, where she made a name for herself as an outspoken advocate for veterans and active-duty service members. On Wednesday, right-wing outlet RedState found itself in the crosshairs after it tried to pick a fight with the combat veteran — a mistake it isn’t likely to repeat.
Last June, President Donald Trump fulfilled a campaign promise by signing a bipartisan bill to make it easier to fire employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The law, a rare rollback of the federal government’s strict civil-service job protections, was intended as a much-needed fix for an organization widely perceived as broken.
A vocal group of retired military veterans thinks the idea of arming teachers to possibly open fire on students as complete madness, and they’re taking aim at Trump and the NRA for the dangerous plan. For many who served in the military, unlike Trump, the obvious and horrific red flags are obvious.
Perez became a permanent resident in 1989 and said he mistakenly thought he became a citizen because of his military service. He served half of a 15-year prison sentence after he was pleaded guilty to distributing less than 100 grams of cocaine. After his release from prison in September 2016, he was turned over to ICE and sent to a Wisconsin detention center to await deportation.
Finbarr O’Reilly was a canny Canadian war photographer embedded in Helmand province in Afghanistan. T.J. Brennan was a boisterous, profane and skeptical Marine sergeant who played host to O’Reilly in 2010, as he and his men undertook the thankless mission of fending off invisible Taliban fighters in a moonscape of dusty villages. One day, Brennan, while out on patrol, was knocked down by the shockwave of a rocket-propelled grenade. O’Reilly took a photo of the wounded warrior, and they fell in love.
Veterans’ groups are criticizing the National Rifle Association for releasing a pro-Donald Trump ad that was apparently filmed at a national cemetery in violation of government policy, calling for the ad to be taken down and accusing the gun group of “using our dead to score political points.”
When reporters asked Donald Trump months after his veterans fundraiser where the money went — including whether Donald had, indeed, donated $1 million — he told them he didn’t have to account for the funds.
Trump’s particular popularity with veterans is, historically speaking, lower than it should be. Compared to polls of previous GOP presidential candidates in the summer months preceding an election, a Morning Consult survey shows that Trump’s candidacy has split the usual Republican advantage in half.
Following a lengthy temper tantrum aimed at the media, Donald Trump released a list of veterans charities that were going to receive the money he claims to have raised back in January. One of those charities, Foundation for American Veterans, is known to be a scam operation.
“I’m protesting the hate speech he stands for,” said Peter Bronson, an 81-year-old Korean War veteran who served on a French air base in Morocco, to The National Memo. “We all served with Muslims. Most of us served in the Middle East.”
Recall that Trump wasn’t obligated to raise money for veterans while skipping the Fox News debate. Nor did anyone force him to claim that he had raised $6 million at the end of the night. The former increasingly appears to have been a publicity stunt, and the latter a blatant lie.
The billionaire developer’s latest stunt was all about him, not helping those who served. While he did raise $6 million, those funds all went to the Donald J. Trump Foundation — a tax-exempt non-profit entity that generally gives barely $1 million a year to charity.