Normally, mass firings by a president would create outrage, but not in this case.
Since Trump has taken office, it is estimated that 8,000 Veterans Affairs employees up and down the organization have been fired, demoted, or suspended because they weren’t actually doing their job properly.
“A new day at the VA”
When Donald Trump was “just” Donald Trump and the star of “The Apprentice,” his catchphrase was, “You’re fired!” Apparently, he’s brought that same approach into the White House.
One of the promises Donald Trump made during the election was that he was going to get the VA back on track again. This was not just about leadership, either, as many of the problems in the VA were traced back to frontline employees that simply did not care.
After putting their lives on the line for this country, our veterans deserve better and Trump pledged to see to it that they are treated better and all of these problems are addressed.
The VA now is still not perfect, and probably never will be, but it is a far better operation than it was in 2016. One of the reasons for the improvement is the fact that people that were ignoring problems or treating veterans without the respect they deserve are now gone.
VA Secretary Robert Wilkie stated, “The standard is if you don’t live up to your oath if you don’t live up to the standards that our veterans expect, that you will be asked to leave … This is, I think, one of the strongest statements that we can make: That it is a new day at VA.”
Trump also recently addressed this situation, stating, “Do you remember all of the bad stories that used to be about the VA? Now you don’t see that because they have accountability.”
“We can fire bad people. We fired a tremendous number of really bad people that should’ve been fired years ago,” he added. “I don’t like firing people, but I like firing people that don’t treat our vets great, that aren’t doing their job.”
We can do better
One of the biggest challenges the VA faces is getting veterans under care that need help. It was estimated that roughly 60 percent of the veterans that committed suicide were not under care at a VA hospital.
This does not mean they were not seeking care. Many of these vets sought help but were refused or found the process frustrating and simply never went back to the VA for the help they needed.
One of the VA’s major focuses under the new administration is to do a better job of spotting troubled veterans in time to get them the help they so desperately need. Wilkie said that he has never seen a president work so hard to transform the lives of veterans.