Thursday, November 15, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He chose a bad moment to claim victory on how America's veterans are treated by his administration.

The three hours of work on Trump's public schedule today amounted to a "do-over" on celebrating veterans, which he pointedly neglected to do earlier this week. In tweets on the subject, he said:
Since my inauguration, we have removed more than 3,600 government employees who were not giving our Vets the care they deserve....It is our sacred duty to support America’s Service Members every single day they wear the uniform – and every day after when they return home as Veterans.
NBC News reported this week that hundreds of thousands of veterans had gone without the GI Bill benefits they were owed for months. As of today, there was no solution in sight.

It's not clear if any of the "3,600 government employees" Trump says he "removed" would have been useful in honoring his administration's legal responsibility to veterans, but today's ceremonies were a reminder of why the problem might have arisen. His acting VA secretary—acting, because Trump's nomination of his own personal physician to lead the enormous agency failed—complained to an audience of Marines that he was hamstrung in his ability to make changes by the temporary nature of his appointment.

Why does this matter?

  • There is a difference between saying you've done something, and doing something.
  • Presidents are responsible for the incompetence of their appointees.