Just when you thought that it couldn’t get any worse, among the many personal implications of Trump’s breakneck rush to implement the most radical parts of his agenda sits the fact that the Veterans Administration has been forbidden from hiring any new medical staff for the indefinite future. This hiring freeze at the VA comes alongside a total hiring freeze on every other federal agency, except the military.
Now, the VA provides crucial, life saving medical services to countless veterans who, due to cost constraints, wouldn’t be able to get that medical care elsewhere. At least, providing such medical care is what the agency is supposed to do, but in many cases in years past the agency has come up short in terms of actually fulfilling the need that exists.
There are many, many such stories out there of the VA miserably failing veterans who need medical care, such as the time(s) that a veteran killed himself outside a VA hospital while waiting for care. Just Google “VA horror stories” and you’ll see.
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Now, with the federal hiring freeze having taken effect, the prospects for any sort of short term improvement in the way that the VA health system cares for this nation’s ailing veterans is completely shot through.
The veterans’ issues advocacy group VoteVets issued a statement slamming the Trump administration for the impact that Trump’s brazen executive order may have on the VA, writing:
‘If his Executive Order leads to preventable deaths, that will be on Donald Trump’s hands, and we will hold him personally accountable.’
— VoteVets (@votevets) January 24, 2017
Another aspect to the hiring freeze executive order’s impact on the community of American veterans is that federal jobs are a “prime destination” for unemployed vets, with the VoteVets statement on Trump’s relevant executive order reading:
‘[F]or those unemployed veterans seeking work, Federal jobs are a prime destination, thanks to a 2009 executive order signed by President Barack Obama, establishing the Veterans Employment Initiative. That order instructed agencies to identify and hire qualified veterans for job openings. Trump’s hiring freeze means no jobs are now open for veterans at affected agencies.’
What this whole incident shows about the nature of the Trump administration is simple, and other incidents showcase it as well. The well being and the very lives of Americans simply are not President Donald Trump’s highest priority.
Peter Kaufmann, senior adviser to VoteVets, summed it up, saying:
‘That didn’t take long. In just his third day in office, Donald Trump screwed hundreds of thousands of veterans out of better pay, and thousands more out of potential jobs. Veterans who have families to feed, who may be saving up for a home, all of them have been let down by Donald Trump.’