Letter: Trump, WNC politicians fail to consult veterans

Graphic by Lori Deaton

President Trump mentioned veterans when he campaigned here and announced that he was going to change the Department of Veterans Affairs and make it more responsive to our needs and be more effective in helping us with our medical issues in every speech he gave.

Now, that he is elected president with the help of many veterans, it is becoming clear that he cannot even put someone in charge or nominate someone to head the VA to do what he promised us. There is no way anyone can say at this point that veterans, even those who voted for him, can have any confidence that he can make his promises during the campaign a reality.

There are two groups that President Trump and Western North Carolina politicians have completely ignored and have not consulted about who should head the VA in either the first VA pick, who was forced out by Trump himself, or the [next] nominee who lasted two days because it seems Trump and his staff did not vet him properly.

Those two groups are veterans and veterans groups, and I ask the president why no one seems to care about any input from us about who we think should head the VA?

— John Penley
Asheville

Editor’s note: Penley reports that he is a former Navy air traffic controller who was arrested at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte in 2012. Penley says he was nonviolently protesting about the rise in veterans’ suicides and lack of treatment by the VA, adding that he was found not guilty at his trial.

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10 thoughts on “Letter: Trump, WNC politicians fail to consult veterans

  1. John Penley

    After this letter had already been submitted for publication President Trump announced that he was nominating acting VA head Robert Wilkie to run the VA. True to form Trump did not consult with Veterans or Veterans groups on the nomination. Surprisingly enough Trump said when he made the announcement at a meeting where Wilkie was present that he had not even advised Wilkie about it and the announcement was a surprise to Wilkie himself.

  2. Enlightened Enigma

    well, perhaps Wilkie is more qualified than his personal physician was … besides I am sure the VA runs without a figurehead just fine, or as well as they can. I support sending vets to other local hospitals when they cannot be seen at the VA as needed.

    • boatrocker

      Sounds like ‘let them eat cake’ to me, same as how some propose dealing with the homeless.
      Out of sight, out of mind, eh?

      • Big Al

        Actually, our veterans could be better served if their care was given at non-VA hospitals on a voucher-style program. The number of veterans continues to decrease dramatically as the WW2 generation dies off and the current military population remains relatively low. In fact, the number of people who now serve, have served, are related to or even know anyone who has served is at an all time low (this has been true since 1999 and has only increased as time has passed). The location and size of VA medical centers no longer correlates with where an increasing number of veterans live, making the system bloated and inefficient. I know that many veterans speak very highly of the VA, especially the VAMC here in Asheville, but the budget of the VA is tied to the overall size of the current military (the number of people, NOT the overall budget), not the size of the veteran population, so funding will continue to drop and more efficiency will be demanded of the system. Hospitals will close, starting with those farthest from military bases and big cities, and vets who chose not to live near either will need alternatives to driving further for out-patient services.

  3. Jason

    So let me get this straight; trump; a world class conman…. breaks campaign promises and ur surprised????

  4. John Penley

    On Memorial Day I am thinking of Jacob George a fellow Vet I saw play at a number of protests and another Iraq Vet who killed himself because of the pain he brought back from Iraq and because the VA took so long to take action about the suicide rates of Iraq and Afghanistan Vets………………………………https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX6VpKA3MyI

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