Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich recently told President-elect Donald Trump to begin a war on the federal bureaucracy, beginning with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). In particular, he criticized veteran service organizations for their desire to keep the current secretary, Bob McDonald.
“The Veterans Administration [the previous name for VA] is a total disgrace and it’s embarrassing that the senior veterans’ organizations endorsed the current veterans’ secretary because he has failed totally to clean it up. And they did it because they prefer the current status where they have access to [VA] offices, rather than making sure veterans are taken care of.”
Within a week, Allison Jaslow of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), notifed their members that Gingrich “shockingly attacked the integrity of the nation’s leading Veteran Service Organizations (VSO).”
In addition, IAVA and two other VSOs wrote a letter to Trump asking him to “address” Gingrich’s “careless comments.”
Paul Rieckhoff, CEO & Founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America; Sherman Gillums Jr., Executive Director of Paralyzed Veterans of America and Joe Chenelly, National Executive Director of American Veterans, wrote the letter to Trump saying Gingrich
would slight our integrity by suggesting that our actions would do anything other than put the care of veterans first.”
We urge you to address Mr. Gingrich’s careless comments with him personally and we welcome the opportunity to meet with you both to help you better understand what our members are experiencing.
The primary issue is all about these three VSOs and their desire to keep Bob McDonald as VA Secretary. The groups are also concerned his possible replacement being Pete Hegseth, former CEO of IAVA. The groups are against Hegseth because of his desire to include civilian healthcare alongside VA care which would actually broaden it for all veterans. They believe that Hegseth would replace the VA healthcare system with total privatation. However, there is absolutely no indication that this is the intent of the Trump adminstration!
But there are problems with keeping McDonald as VA secretary. His odious and comletely false recent remark about the VA healthcare system prove he needs to be replaced. Earlier this month, he said,
“To be clear, no VA medical facility is bad or failing.”
Obviously, this is false because of the wait time scandal which still needs to be resolved.
In 2015, he claimed he was in Special Forces when he wasn’t.
That year, it was also reported McDonald fired 900 VA employees. Also not true.
Veterans are anxiously awaiting until Trump’s decision for a new VA secretary. Add to that is his recent announcement he’s going to “fire feds faster”!
We can hardly wait until both of these issues are settled!
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