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Ex-VA Secretary Wilkie to Newsmax TV: Don't Bring Back Old Guard

(Newsmax TV/"Spicer & Co.")

By    |   Friday, 22 January 2021 08:05 PM

Outgoing Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie cautioned the incoming Biden administration against ''bringing back the same people'' that ran the department under former President Barack Obama, suggesting on Newsmax TV on Friday that it would result in many of the same problems the Trump administration inherited.

Wilkie, a former officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve and a colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, said the key to turnaround of Veterans Affairs from the Obama administration — which was plagued by reports of negligence and veterans dying while waiting for care — was President Donald Trump’s instruction to staff the department with people with military experience.

''The reason that is important is that we understand the culture and we speak the language,'' Wilkie said on ''Spicer & Co.'' ''And we were able to get around the entrenched Washington interests, some of those the leadership of veterans groups, some of whom have strong ties to the Democratic Party.''

Wilkie noted that a CNN poll listed veterans’ approval of the VA under Obama at 37%, which rose to 91% at the end of the Trump administration.

The comments came during a discussion of President Joe Biden’s selection of Denis McDonough to head the VA. He was chief of staff for four years under Obama and has no military experience.

He said he has known McDonough since both were staffers for the majority and minority in the Senate in the late 1990s and called him ''a very capable public servant.''

However, claiming the Democrats see veterans as ''victims'' and as part of the welfare state, he warned of a return to past practices and people.

''The new majority, in my experience on both sides of the House, for the most part not in all cases, sees veterans as victims,'' Wilkie said. ''They see them as an extension of what they would want to see as the extension of the welfare state. They treat veterans as if these are folks who have been in a tough situation in their lives and can’t take of themselves.

''Bringing back the same people, the same practices, does not bode well for veterans.''

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Outgoing Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie cautioned the incoming Biden administration against ''bringing back the same people'' that ran the department under former President Barack Obama, suggesting on Newsmax TV on Friday that it would result in many of the same...
wilkie, mcdonough, veterans
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2021-05-22
Friday, 22 January 2021 08:05 PM
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