Hillary Clinton thinks the VA scandal is 'not as widespread' as Republicans say
In an interview with Rachel Maddow on Friday, Hillary Clinton defended the performance of one of the most dysfunctional federal agencies in government - the Veterans Affairs Administration - by claiming that the scandals swirling around the VA are "not as widespread" as Republicans say.
She advanced a bizarre conspiracy theory to explain the scandal.
The former first lady blamed Republicans for using the issue as part of an “ideological agenda” and said they want the VA to “fail.”“Now nobody would believe that from the coverage you see, and the constant berating of the VA that comes from the Republicans, in – in part in pursuit of this ideological agenda that they have,” Clinton said.“They try to create a downward spiral, don’t fund it to the extent that it needs to be funded, because they want it to fail, so then we can argue for privatization.”Senate Democrats blocked a bill to fund the VA earlier this month in order to negotiate a larger budget deal.Clinton said veterans often report having a positive experience with the VA when they get treatment through the agency.“I don’t understand why we have such a problem, because there have been a number of surveys of veterans, and, overall, veterans who do get treated are satisfied with their treatment,” she said.
In a statement on Saturday, Pete Hegseth, CEO of Concerned Veterans for America condemned Mrs. Clinton’s comments, saying her remarks minimized the problems plaguing the VA.
“Mrs. Clinton is clearly out of touch with reality when it comes to veterans’ needs, and despite her self-professed lack of understanding of VA issues, is more interested in defending the status quo and entrenched special interests than in actually advocating for the reforms veterans want,” Mr. Hegseth said.
“Veteran-centered reform will only happen when politicians acknowledge the widespread institutional rot at the VA. With her commentsFriday,Mrs. Clinton has shown that she is part of the problem, not the solution.”
To assign the motive of "privatization" to GOP criticism of the VA not doing its job in treating veterans is bizarre. Surely there are some Republicans who want to scrap the VA entirely. But most lawmakers are supporting giving veterans a choice between public and private treatment - especially since wait times for seeing a VA doctor can threaten the health of veterans.
This is not "privatization." It is a common sense response to a huge problem. And Hillary shows a decided lack of clarity and compassion when she makes such wild accusations.