For 21 years, a wounded veteran who served with the 101st Airborne fought for his nation. On Tuesday, in an emotionally charged face-to-face meeting, Donald Trump promised to take this veteran’s side in the ex-soldier’s current battlefield: the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Trump was answering questions at a Sioux City, Iowa, campaign stop when a wounded veteran named Todd was given the opportunity to speak.
“These are our greatest people. The wounded warriors. These are the greatest. The best,” Trump said before leaving his podium to greet the man and his family.
“With the current administration, warrior care is lacking to say the least…especially post-service,” Todd said to Trump, noting that he did not work and his wife, April, was his caregiver. “What will the Trump administration do better than the Obama administration?”
“Is the VA not doing the job?” Trump asked.
April explained that Todd was supposed to enroll in a new VA program, but can’t get an appointment.
Trump acted decisively. He told Todd and his wife to put their information on a card and give it to him so he could champion their cause.
“I am going to put pressure on the VA like you won’t believe,” Trump said to major applause from the crowd. “Let’s see if we can get this.”
“As president, I can guarantee it. As Trump I can say, ‘I’ll probably be able to pull it off anyway.’” he told the family as the crowd around him cheered. “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.”
Trump then discussed the VA’s “terrible” shortcomings. “The waits now are worse than they’ve ever been. Thousands of people dying, waiting for a doctor,” he said.
To fix the situation, Trump said he would allow veterans in need of care to receive treatment at any local hospital, which Trump said would cost less and improve the quality of care.
“We’re going to take care of our vets,” he told the crowd. “We’re going to take care of the VA.”