Last week President Donald Trump started the process of making good on yet another one of his campaign promises, which was to focus on improving the condition of Veteran’s Affairs to ensure veteran’s are receiving the better care than they did under the Obama administration, as the president signed a new executive order.
On Thursday President Trump signed an executive order taking the first step to hold employees at the Department of Veteran’s affairs accountable for their failures to provide proper care to their clients. The order also protects whistleblowers within the VA who come forward about mistreatment, malpractice or general failings within the system.
At a ceremony at VA headquarters, Trump, accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence, said the order would create an Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection within the VA whose head would report directly to new VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin.
“We’re going to protect the people who are protecting us,” said Trump, who made VA reform one of the major issues in his campaign for the White House.
“We’re not going to let them down,” the president said.
The order “makes it clear that we will never ever tolerate substandard care for our great veterans,” he said but acknowledged that Congress must pass legislation to back up the order and give Shulkin the authority to bypass the due process of existing civil service rules and go beyond simply identifying wrongdoers.
Trump noted that he is taking steps to prevent the scandals that happened under Obama’s watch, mentioning the infamous 3-year-waiting time incident at a VA in Phoenix, which was said to have led to the death of up to 40 veterans who died waiting for care. In fact, a report in 2015 stated that as many as 307,000 veterans may have died while waiting for VA health care to treat them.
The president’s order creates an Office of Accountability within Veterans Affairs and he said that “we will never, ever tolerate substandard care for our great veterans.” The office will also identify barriers that make it difficult for directors to fire or reassign bad managers or employees, in an effort to “drain the swamp” of complacency and incompetence that has run rampant within the VA under the Obama administration.
Trump’s whistleblower protection plan will ensure that anyone who comes forward with concerns about failures within the VA system will be protected from persecution or retaliation, hopefully preventing issues before they negatively impact veterans.
“With the creation of this office, we are sending a strong message: Those who fail our veterans will be held, for the first time, accountable,” Trump said at the VA before signing an executive order to create the office. “And at the same time, we will reward and retain the many VA employees who do a fantastic job, of which we have many.”
Although this executive order is yet another step towards Trump keeping his campaign promises, and seeks to remedy a major failing of our government in recent years with regards to America’s veterans, it will likely be just a blip in the mainstream media’s headlines.
While the media continues on a daily basis to distort Trump’s message while painting his administration in a negative light, it’s up to the people to recognize his extraordinary achievements in his first 100 days and persistent efforts to serve the American people.