VIDEO: A Wounded Veteran in Iowa Finds a New Ally in Donald Trump
As Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton attempts to respond to criticism for her recent statements blaming problems at Veterans’ Affairs facilities on Republicans and claiming they are “not widespread,” an Army veteran in Sioux City, Iowa found a champion at a political rally who was willing to listen.
The Wounded Warrior identified only as “Todd” was recognized to pose a question to Donald Trump, the current front-runner for the Republican nomination, when Trump unexpectedly stepped down from the podium and walked into the audience to talk with the wheelchair-bound veteran and his wife face to face.
Todd’s question went directly to the care of veterans at VA hospitals.
“With the current administration, warrior care is lacking to say the least, and especially post-service. What else will the Trump administration do better than the Obama administration?”
Trump was quick to seize the moment and asked with sarcasm, “Is the VA not doing the job?”
Todd’s wife, April, is his full-time caregiver and told Trump and the audience she had been informed her husband had to enroll in a new VA program to obtain necessary treatment, but has been unable to schedule an appointment to complete the enrollment process.
In 2014, whistleblowers drew public attention to extended wait times for treatment and the existence of fake wait lists at VA hospitals that led to the deaths of at least 40 veterans while they waited for care.
The billionaire candidate didn’t stop with merely listening to Todd and April’s story, he promised action. After asking the couple for their contact information, Trump told them:
“I am going to put pressure on the VA like you won’t believe. As president, I can guarantee it. As Trump, I can say I’ll probably be able to pull it off anyway, because they know it won’t stop. It’ll be easier to take Todd and just say ‘Look, Todd, we’re gonna work with you.’”
After the 2014 revelations, an inspector general’s report found over 120,000 veterans had either waited over one-hundred days for an initial appointment or never received an appointment at all, while VA administrators boasted of only a 24-day wait.
The public outcry led to Congressional hearings and an investigation by the FBI that resulted in the resignation of the VA’s top health official, Dr. Robert Petzel, at the request of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki.
Shinseki himself resigned two-weeks later as evidence was found indicating that the delays and deliberate wait-list manipulation was not limited to a particular facility, but systemic throughout the VA system.
Clinton’s dismissive and political comments on MSNBC prompted one of the VA whistleblowers, Brandon Coleman, U.S.M.C. (Ret.), to offer a personal tour of hospitals to Hillary Clinton.
“I’m prepared to meet her wherever she wants to meet,” Coleman said. “It’s not a right or left issue. It’s an American issue.”