With the Election Over, Trump Doesn’t Care About Vets Anymore

Donald Trump and new VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. So far, the Trump administration has been too busy trying to obsessively outsource care to its private sector pals to bother giving any thought to how service might be improved.Mark Wilson/CNP via ZUMA

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Back in 2016 Donald Trump maintained a hard line on problems in the VA. “I will instruct my staff that if a valid complaint is not addressed, that the issue be brought directly to me,” he said. “I will pick up the phone and fix it myself if I have to.”

Tough words. The reality is a little different: Trump hired 60 customer service agents in a small office in West Virginia to take messages and pass them along:

“We’re going to try to get you some help,” Mary said to the man on her line now, an Air Force veteran who had erroneously received a bill for $350.18. He did not have $350.18….But for now, the only person trying to fix it was Mary, a 44-year-old widow with blond hair, a cross around her neck and long lavender nails that clacked on her keyboard. She had learned so much about VA that she wished she had known when her husband, an Army veteran, had been alive. But still, she could not make the $350.18 bill go away.

She could not see why it was sent. She could not access benefits or medical records, even with the man’s permission. She wasn’t allowed to call his provider. All she could do was type his problem and send it to a different team in a different place that would respond in approximately 60 business days, if it responded on time.

Listen. Type. Send. This was what the 60 customer service agents could do for the 107,000 calls that had come in since June 2017. On this day, there would be 584 more.

Promises made. Promises ignored. Typical Trump.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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