At first, it seemed like President Trump simply didn’t care about military veterans and that his pro-military rhetoric on the campaign was just a cheap way to help get himself elected. Now, it seems like he might actually have a vendetta against them, perhaps stemming from his own draft-dodging insecurities.
Only two days after Veterans Affairs David Shulkin made a big show of assuring the country of Trump’s commitment to continued support of housing for veterans, the agency has announced it will be cutting funding, forcing homeless vets onto the streets, reports Politico. It’s a stunning, abrupt betrayal of the man and women who have risked their very lives to defend the United States.
The VA is cutting off a nearly half-billion dollar program geared towards sheltering veterans. Instead, the money will be filtered to veteran hospitals that can demonstrate they are combatting homelessness.
During a conference call between Shulkin’s office, veterans’ advocates, state officials, and HUD officials, tempers flared. Those speaking on behalf of the veterans were outraged by the move, which they saw as a reckless attack on a necessary program.
“I don’t understand why you are pulling the rug out. You’re putting at risk the lives of men and women who’ve served this country,” Elisha Harig-Blaine, a National League of Cities housing official, said on the call, according to Politico.
Politico also adds that Shulkin’s announcement comes on the tail of HUD data stating that veteran homelessness has increased by 1.5% since 2016, the first time the number has jumped since 2010. The same data states that the program has cut veteran homelessness in half since 2010.
“The people in this program are the most vulnerable individuals. If someone’s going to die on the streets, they are the ones,” Matt Leslie, who heads the program for the Virginia Department of Veterans Services, told Politico.
The move is just the latest ploy in the Trump administration’s campaign to gut and shrink the VA. It’s a strategy that they are employing in numerous other branches of the federal government, perhaps most noticeably in the State Department.
Trump and his cronies are seeking to dismantle crucial programs so that they can pay for the massive tax cuts that they’re trying to pass for the super-rich. They’re betraying our veterans so that billionaires can afford a few more yachts. It’s utterly shameful.