Bob Carey, director of Military Affairs and Veterans Engagement for the Republican National Committee, joined SiriusXM host Alex Marlow on Wednesday’s Breitbart News Daily to talk about the record support of military veterans for Donald Trump during the 2016 election.
Marlow found it dismaying, if not exactly surprising, that the establishment media did not make a bigger deal about a candidate with no military background receiving such enormous support from veterans.
Carey applauded Trump for addressing veterans’ issues “as clearly and convincingly and repeatedly as he did.”
“He talked about the real problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs, how it’s in need of fundamental reform, and he talked to what all of these veterans are experiencing when they do go to the Department of Veterans Affairs – which is basically a Byzantine bureaucracy that seems to be more interested in perpetuating their own jobs than taking care of veterans,” he said.
“And then he also talked about national security issues in real, clear, and unequivocal manner, talking about the threat of terrorism and the need to build up our armed forces,” Carey continued. “Many of these veterans have recently come off active duty, where they go on five, six, seven, eight deployments overseas to Iraq and Afghanistan. In large part, it’s because they have this really compressed deployment schedule because there’s just not enough forces. And he talked about that. He talked about how we need to increase the size of our armed forces, just to meet our current commitments. That was first and foremost.”
Carey said Trump has “laid out a ten-point plan” for reforming the VA, calling it “one of his most complete and in-depth policy initiatives.”
“One of the most key elements of that is to give the veteran the choice of where they get their health care, to allow the veteran to determine whether they go to a VA healthcare system, or whether they go to a private-sector healthcare system, and basically, make the VA compete for that veteran’s dollars,” he said, expressing hope that such competition would make the VA system “more responsive to veterans.”
Carey said the secretary for Veterans Affairs should be someone who aligns closely with Trump’s reform plans, citing word from transition team insiders that Trump is taking his time with the VA nomination because it is so important to him.
“What you need is someone who binds well with the President-elect, who understands what the President-elect wants to do, and has the capacity in order to be able to carry that out,” he said.
Carrying out that reform plan will not be easy, as Carey spoke of a bureaucratic culture at the VA that is even more insulated from the consequences of failure and malfeasance than most government agencies.
“People expect that most government agencies at least, you know, try to work properly,” he sighed. “There’s a lot of evidence out there that the employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs believe that they can’t be touched, and so they can basically do whatever they want to. A lot of times, people come in thinking that people follow orders and the bureaucracy works. Whoever comes in for the Department of Veterans Affairs can’t assume that. They’ve got to assume that the people are going to lie to them and that the bureaucracy is not going to work.”
Carey said the 2016 election had “the highest veteran voter participation rate that [he had] ever seen,” adding, “And I went back to 1976 with the polling data.”
“Donald Trump crushed the veteran vote. They turned out record numbers for him. He had the greatest margin of victory among veteran voters, 61 percent to 34 percent. That translated into 4.8 million more votes for him. Almost two million more veterans showed up at the polls this election than 2012, despite the fact that we have about half-a-million less veterans because the World War II generation is leaving us,” he noted. “Seventeen percent of the Donald Trump voters were veterans. They only make up nine percent of the population.”
Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.