What (Really) Happened, Day #4
With Veterans Day having just passed, let’s reflect on one of the more disturbing moments of the 2016 presidential election.
In early 2014, CNN’s investigative team uncovered that at least 40 veterans had died at the VA Health Care System in Phoenix, Arizona. As the months rolled by, more and more details about massive, systemic problems at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs dripped out, including revelations that men and women in uniform had been placed secret lists intended to hide those problems.
Tragic stories followed, from Arizona to Wisconsin and everywhere in between.
When Hillary Clinton appeared on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show in October 2015, the liberal host lobbed the former secretary of state a softball about the VA, basically giving her an opportunity to show how compassionate she is toward veterans.
Instead, Clinton responded that the problems at the VA were not “widespread” and that veterans were actually quite “satisfied” with their treatment.
RACHEL MADDOW: For some reason, this can’t get fixed fast enough.
HILLARY CLINTON: Yeah, and I don’t understand that. You know, 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. . . .
CLINTON: Nobody would believe that from the coverage that you see, and the constant berating of the VA that comes from the Republicans, in part in pursuit of this ideological agenda that they have.
MADDOW: But in part because there has been real scandal.
CLINTON: There has been. But it’s not been as widespread as it has been made out to be.
The Arizona Republic, the hometown newspaper where the scandal was born, responded that same week.
“[N]o one has injected the kind of accusatory, issue-dismissing language into the debate that Clinton has,” the editorial board wrote, following up with a summary of tragedies that had been uncovered.
“No, that circumstance isn’t as bad as it has been made out to be. It’s worse.”