Trump Donates Part Of His Salary To VA

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In a move to shift media focus to the plight of veterans, Trump is donating this quarter’s salary to Veterans Affairs.

The office of the President is entitled to $400,000 in salary every year.

Since Trump is worth billions of dollars, he has refused to collect on his salary and has instead been sending it along to worthy organizations who have benefited from media coverage.

Since becoming President, he has donated portions of his salary to the Department of Transpiration, to the National Park Service, the Department of Education and to the Department of Health and Human Services.

The announcement was made by Press Secretary Sarah Sanders at the end of this week.

VA Comments on Salary Donation

After thanking Trump for the donation, the acting secretary of Veterans Affairs, Robert Wilkie, spoke to the press agents gathered at the White House to describe how the money would be used:

“…[Trump’s] gift underscores his promise to do all that he can for veterans… [he] understands the critical role of caregivers in meeting the essential needs of America’s veterans. We have already earmarked this gift for caregiver support in the form of mental health and peer support programs, financial aid, education training and research.”

Here is a short video of Wilkie.

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Department of Veterans Affairs Falling Apart

During the days of Obama, we reported that  Sharon Helman, a local director of Veterans Affairs was scamming the system to add thousands worth of a bonus to her salary by manipulating the appointment schedule. The scam resulted in the deaths of 40 vets who were depending on a proper appointment system.

“…at least 40 patients have died at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care System because of delays in treatment, and many of them were placed on a secret list to hide the wait times from officials in Washington.

According to internal emails obtained by CNN, top management at the Phoenix hospital, including Helman, was aware of the practice and defended it.”

The news followed a report saying that VA employees had been destroying medical records in order to clear their backlog.

At the end of March of this year, Trump announced his new Director of the VA right after media reported that a veteran had committed suicide early in the morning hours of a Missouri VA hospital. The man took his own life in one of the waiting rooms.

With Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson in charge, Trump is expecting to see trouble with employees cleaned up so that veterans do not have to game the system in turn in order to get any level of care.

PTSD Misunderstood, Improperly Treated

After World War 1, many men returned from the front with a new form of mental affliction previously unseen. The poorly understood “shell shock” was not quite a physical injury and was therefore seen as a weakness, and not a natural reaction to the incredibly stressful, unnatural position that millions of men (and so many teenagers) found themselves in. Even a life on a farm, where butchering animals and sudden illnesses may be absorbed was no match for the carnage of trench warfare.

Nowadays PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is better known to the public, and the families of the men who fought in wars now look back and understand that their mental health troubles were likely a result of the fighting.

Two years ago, the House Veterans Affairs Committee was given testimony on PTSD programs claiming that some vets were faking PTSD in order to get on disability. The testimony stated that the VA had given mental health treatment to 1.6 million in 2016, which was up from 900,000 in 2006. But, which PTSD treatment had increased 200% since 2010 to 2016, the available services for vets with PTSD only saw an increase of 150%.

While it’s still murky, it appears that veterans are being encouraged to tell the VA that their symptoms are worse in order to receive higher payouts from the government while simultaneously letting the VA claim higher rates of PTSD and get more funding for their own salaries.

Trump Skipped GOP Debate, Raised Money For Vets

In January 2016, Trump skipped a debate with the Republican Party in order to host a fundraiser for veterans groups, raising $6 million in the process. The money went through the Donald Trump Foundation, and while the beneficiary of the event said that they do not necessarily support Trump, they hoped that “All candidates will support our cause.” The donation was made to the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust.

The focus on veterans, especially disabled ones, is something I haven’t seen in the media or from the GOP since George Bush finished his eight year term and decided to focus more time on working with the veterans of his wars. Bush was often photographed with vets at different events, particularly ones focusing on physical activity like running and golf.

 

Sources: Military.com, Breitbart, CNBC, CNN

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