Guest views are now limited to 12 pages. If you get an "Error" message, just sign in! If you need to create an account, click here.

Jump to content
  • CRYPTO REWARDS!

    Full endorsement on this opportunity - but it's limited, so get in while you can!

AP FACT CHECK: Trump takes credit for Obama’s gains for vets


Recommended Posts

WASHINGTON (AP) — Boastful on the occasion of Memorial Day, President Donald Trump and his Veterans Affairs secretary are claiming full credit for health care improvements that were underway before they took office.

Trump said he passed a private-sector health care program, Veterans Choice, after failed attempts by past presidents for the last “45 years.” That’s not true. The Choice program, which allows veterans to see doctors outside the government-run VA system at taxpayer expense, was first passed in 2014 under President Barack Obama.

Trump’s VA secretary, Robert Wilkie, also is distorting the facts. Faulting previous “bad leadership” at VA, Wilkie suggested it was his own efforts that improved waiting times at VA medical centers and brought new offerings of same-day mental health service. The problem: The study cited by Wilkie on wait times covers the period from 2014 to 2017, before Wilkie took the helm as VA secretary. Same-day mental health services at VA were started during the Obama administration.

 

The half-truths and exaggerations came in a week when selective accounting was a norm in Trump’s rhetoric, extending into his trip to Japan , where he inflated the drop in the U.S. unemployment rate for women.

A look at the claims, about the Russia investigation, the border, drug prices and more:

VETERANS

TRUMP: “We passed VA Choice and VA Accountability to give our veterans the care that they deserve and they have been trying to pass these things for 45 years.” — Montoursville, Pennsylvania, rally on May 20.

THE FACTS: Wrong. Trump is not the first president in 45 years to get Congress to pass Veterans Choice; Obama did it in the wake of a scandal at VA’s medical center in Phoenix, where some veterans died while waiting months for appointments. The program currently allows veterans to see doctors outside the VA system if they must wait more than 30 days for an appointment or drive more than 40 miles (65 kilometers) to a VA facility.

Trump did expand eligibility for the program. Now, starting June 6, veterans are to have that option for a private doctor if their VA wait is only 20 days (28 for specialty care) or their drive is only 30 minutes.

Still, VA’s top health official, Dr. Richard Stone, described the new program’s start to “almost be a non-event” in testimony to Congress. That’s in part because wait times in the private sector are typically longer than at VA. In 2018, 34 percent of all VA appointments were with outside physicians, down from 36 percent in 2017.

Also key to the Choice program’s success is an overhaul of VA’s electronic medical records to allow seamless sharing of them with private physicians, a process expected to take up to 10 years. Wilkie has said full implementation of the expanded Choice program is “years” away.

___

WILKIE: “The first thing I did was change out the leadership at VA. ... (The president) also allowed me to change out leadership in the VA centers. If someone wasn’t walking the post, getting to know the people who work for her or him, or getting to know those veterans, they had to leave. And, as a result, the Journal of the American Medical Association this year said that our waiting times are now as good or better than any in the private sector.” — interview Thursday with Fox News.

THE FACTS: It’s true that a study by the medical association came out in January that found wait times at VA medical centers on average were better than the private sector. But the improvement wasn’t a “result” of anything that Wilkie did: The study involved a period largely covering the Obama administration — and before Wilkie became acting VA secretary in late March 2018.

In fact, in a VA press release in January announcing the study’s results, Wilkie credits the department’s “concerted” effort to improve access to care “since 2014.”

The study covered four specialties, primary care, dermatology, cardiology and orthopedics.

It found that in 2014, the average wait time at VA medical centers was 22.5 days, compared with 18.7 days in the private sector, which was not statistically different. By 2017, the wait time at VA improved to 17.7 days, while increasing to 29.8 days for private doctors. Wait times at VA medical centers were shorter in all specialties except orthopedics.

According to the study, the number of patients seen yearly in VA increased slightly between 2014 and 2017, to about 5.1 million. VA patient satisfaction also rose, according to patient surveys cited in the study.

___

WILKIE: The VA “had suffered from bad leadership. And that’s a bipartisan comment. And the second thing I had to do was make sure that as we approach our veteran population that we make sure that they are at the center, their needs are at the center of what we do ... I think we’ve had it backwards at VA for many years. ... One of the things that we’re doing at VA is that we have same-day mental health service. ... It is huge.” — interview with Fox News.

THE FACTS: Same-day mental health service started at VA before Trump took office in January 2017, let alone Wilkie.

VA’s effort to provide same-day primary and mental-health care when medically necessary at every VA medical center was publicized in April 2016 under the Obama administration. At the time, David Shulkin was helping lead the effort as VA’s top health official. By late 2016, the department’s blog announced that the goal of same-day mental health services would be achieved by year’s end.

A Dec. 23, 2016, article in the Harvard Business Review cites new same-day services at all VA hospitals as evidence of notable progress at the department. Shulkin, who was then named by Trump to be his VA secretary, told Congress in late January 2017 the services already were fully in place.

Trump selected Wilkie to be his VA secretary after firing Shulkin in March 2018 because of ethics charges and internal rebellion at the department over the role of private care for veterans. Trump’s initial replacement choice, White House doctor Ronny Jackson, withdrew after allegations of workplace misconduct surfaced. While Wilkie has been credited by both parties in Congress for bringing stability to the department, the VA improvements he attributes to himself this past week are misplaced.

___

ECONOMY

TRUMP, on the unemployment rate: “With women, we have the best numbers we’ve had in now 71 years. That’s going to be, very soon, a historic number, meaning the best ever.” — remarks Saturday with Japanese business leaders in Tokyo.

THE FACTS: The unemployment rate for women is not the best in 71 years.

According to the Labor Department, the women’s unemployment rate fell last month to 3.1%. That’s just the lowest since October 1953, or 66 years ago, when it also was 3.1%. The lowest on record was 2.4% in May 1953.

___

TRUMP: “My Administration is achieving things that have never been done before, including unleashing perhaps the Greatest Economy in our Country’s history.” — tweet Wednesday.

TRUMP: “Most successful economy, perhaps, in our country’s history.” — remarks to reporters Wednesday.

THE FACTS: The economy is solid but it’s not one of the best in our country’s history, no matter how many times he asserts it. Trump is also claiming full credit for an economic expansion that began under Obama in mid-2009.

The economy expanded at an annual rate of 3.2 percent in the first quarter of this year. That growth was the highest in just four years for the first quarter.

In the late 1990s, growth topped 4 percent for four straight years, a level it has not yet reached on an annual basis under Trump. Growth even reached 7.2 percent in 1984.

While the economy has shown strength, it grew 2.9% in 2018 — the same pace it reached in 2015 — and simply hasn’t hit historically high growth rates.

___

TRUMP claims “the best unemployment numbers in history.” — Pennsylvania rally on May 20.

THE FACTS: The 3.6% unemployment rate in the latest report is not the best in history. It’s the lowest since 1969, when it was 3.5%. The U.S. also had lower rates than now in the early 1950s. And during three years of World War II, the annual rate was under 2%.

___

TRUMP INVESTIGATIONS

TRUMP: “I don’t do cover-ups.” — Rose Garden remarks Wednesday to reporters.

THE FACTS: Federal prosecutors may not agree with that assertion, which he made in response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s accusation that the president was engaged in a cover-up. Trump spoke after breaking off an infrastructure meeting when Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., came to the White House for it.

Prosecutors’ court filings in December said Trump directed his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to make payments to buy the silence of porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal during the 2016 presidential campaign. Both women alleged they had extramarital affairs with Trump, which the White House denies.

In particular, the Justice Department says the hush money payments were unreported campaign contributions meant to influence the outcome of the election. That assertion makes the payments subject to campaign finance laws, which restrict how much people can donate to a campaign and bar corporations from making direct contributions.

Trump has said the payments were “a simple private transaction,” not a campaign contribution.

Separately, the Mueller report found that Trump dictated his son Trump Jr.’s misleading statement about a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower to cloak its purpose.

Cohen, who pleaded guilty last year to campaign finance crimes in connection with those payments, had previously implicated Trump. The department’s filings backed up Cohen’s claims.

The Mueller report said Trump learned in summer of 2017 that the news media planned to report on the meeting at Trump Tower between senior campaign officials and Russians offering derogatory information about Hillarious Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee.

Trump directed aides not to disclose the emails setting up the meeting. Before the emails became public, the president also edited a press statement for Donald Trump Jr. by deleting a line that acknowledged that the meeting was “with an individual who (Trump Jr.) was told might have information helpful to the campaign” and instead said only that the meeting was about adoptions.

That episode was among 10 identified by the Mueller investigation of possible obstruction of justice by Trump. Special counsel Robert Mueller said in his report that he could not conclusively determine that Trump had committed a crime or that he hadn’t.

___

TRUMP: “The greatest Hoax in American History.” — tweet Wednesday.

THE FACTS: A two-year investigation that produced guilty pleas, convictions and criminal charges against Russian intelligence officers and others with ties to the Kremlin, as well as Trump associates, is not a hoax.

Mueller charged 34 people, including the president’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and three Russian companies. Twenty-five Russians were indicted on charges related to election interference, accused either of hacking Democratic email accounts during the campaign or of orchestrating a social media campaign that spread disinformation on the internet.

Five Trump aides pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with Mueller, and a sixth, longtime confidant Roger Stone, is awaiting trial on charges he lied to Congress and engaged in witness tampering.

Mueller’s report concluded that Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election was “sweeping and systematic.” Ultimately, Mueller did not find a criminal conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign. But the special counsel didn’t render judgment on whether Trump obstructed justice, saying his investigators found evidence on both sides.

___

TRUMP ON BIDEN

TRUMP, on Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden: “He’s not from Pennsylvania. I guess he was born here but he left you, folks. ... He left you for another state and he didn’t take care of you because he didn’t take care of your jobs. He let other countries come in and rip off America.” — Pennsylvania rally on May 20.

THE FACTS: It’s true that Pennsylvania-born Biden left the state without taking care of jobs for the people he left behind. He was a boy, 10 or 11, when his family moved to Delaware in 1953.

___

TRADE

TRUMP on his trade dispute with China: “I’ll be honest, we are getting hundreds of millions of dollars brought into our country. We’ve never gotten 10 cents. We are getting hundreds of billions of dollars coming into our country.” — remarks to reporters Thursday.

THE FACTS: This is not true. The tariffs he’s raised on imports from China are primarily if not entirely a tax on U.S. consumers and businesses, not a source of significant revenue coming into the country.

A study in March by economists from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Columbia University and Princeton University, before the latest escalation, found that the public and U.S. companies were paying $3 billion a month in higher taxes from the trade dispute with China, suffering $1.4 billion a month in lost efficiency and absorbing the entire impact.

It’s also false that the U.S. never collected a dime in tariffs before he took action. Tariffs on goods from China are not remotely new. They are simply higher in some cases than they were before. Tariffs go back to the beginning of the U.S. and were once a leading source of revenue for the government. Not in modern times. They equate to less than 1% of federal spending.

___

BORDER

TRUMP, on a border wall: “We have, we will soon have hundreds of miles under construction and will have way over 400 miles completed by the end of next year.” — remarks to reporters Thursday.

TRUMP: “The wall is being built as we speak. We’ll have almost 500 miles of wall by the end of next year.” — Pennsylvania rally on May 20.

THE FACTS: It’s unclear how Trump arrives at 400 to 500 miles (800 km), but he would have to prevail in legal challenges to his declaration of a national emergency or get Congress to cough up more money to get anywhere close. Those are big assumptions.

So far, the administration has awarded contracts for 244 miles (390 km) of wall construction, but more than half comes from Defense Department money available under Trump’s Feb. 15 emergency declaration. On Friday, a federal judge in California blocked Trump from building key sections of the wall with that money; a separate challenge is before a judge in New York.

Nearly all of what Trump has awarded so far is for replacement barriers and fencing, not new miles of wall. Even if Trump prevails in court, all but 14 miles (22 km) of those awarded contracts replace existing barriers.

The White House says it has identified up to $8.1 billion in potential money under the national emergency, mostly from the Defense Department.

Customs and Border Protection officials say the administration wants Congress to finance 206 miles (330 km) next year. The chances of the Democratic-controlled House backing that are between slim and none.

___

TRUMP: “Our country is full. We don’t want people coming up here. Our country is full. We want Mexico to stop. We want all of them to stop. Our country is packed to the gills. We don’t want them coming up.” — Pennsylvania rally on May 20.

THE FACTS: Trump’s declaration that the U.S. is too “full” to accept migrants due to an overwhelmed southern border is his latest flip-flop. It turns out the U.S. is only “full” in terms of the people Trump doesn’t want.

Just last month, the president had made clear that more migrants are needed due to an improving economy.

“We have companies pouring in. The problem is we need workers,” he told Fox Business Network on April 28.

“We need people to come in,” Trump said at a Wisconsin rally on April 27.

Immigrants as a whole make up a greater percentage of the total U.S. population than they did back in 1970, having grown from less than 5 percent of the population to more than 13 percent now. In 2030, it’s projected that immigrants will become the primary driver for U.S. population growth, overtaking U.S. births.

___

DRUG PRICES

TRUMP: “Drug prices are coming down, first time in 51 years, because of my administration.” — remarks Wednesday to reporters.

THE FACTS: Trump continues to ignore an increase in drug prices.

The Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index for prescription drug prices shows an increase of 0.3% in April compared with the same month last year. The index tracks a set of medications, both brand names and generics, and Trump has frequently made his boast since the updated numbers showing higher costs came out.

Other independent studies point to increasing prices for brand-name drugs as well and more overall spending on medications.

An analysis of brand-name drug prices by The Associated Press showed 2,712 price increases in the first half of January, compared with 3,327 increases during the same period last year. However, the size of this year’s increases was not as pronounced.

Both this year and last, the number of price cuts was minuscule. The information for the analysis was provided by the health data firm Elsevier.

An analysis by Altarum, a nonprofit research and consulting firm, found that in 2018, spending on prescription drugs was one of the main factors behind a 4.5% increase in U.S. health spending. Spending on prescription drugs grew much faster than in 2017, according to the study.

 

  • Downvote 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

FACT CHECK THIS 

 

 

By: George R. Altman and Leo Shane III   January 8, 2017
3K
ZSTLMUYWTZASLHLDOLCAGT3PXU.JPG 

President Barack Obama greets members of the U.S. military during a rally with troops at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2009. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

 

President Barack Obama will step down after eight years as commander in chief with one of the most influential tenures leading the U.S. military, but not necessarily the political support of service members.

His moves to slim down the armed forces, move away from traditional military might and overhaul social policies prohibiting the service of minority groups have proven divisive in the ranks. His critics have accused him of trading a strong security posture for political points, and for allowing the rise of terrorists like the Islamic State group whom the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were supposed to silence.  

But Obama’s supporters define him as the Nobel Peace Prize winner who ordered the elimination of Osama bin Laden and refocused military strategy while wrestling with an uncooperative Congress and unprecedented budget restrictions. They insist the military is more nimble now, and more prepared to deal with unconventional warfare against non-traditional threats across the globe.  

More than half of troops surveyed in the latest Military Times/Institute for Veterans and Military Families poll said they have an unfavorable opinion of Obama and his two-terms leading the military. About 36 percent said they approve of his job as commander in chief.

Their complaints include the president’s decision to decrease military personnel (71 percent think it should be higher), his moves to withdraw combat troops from Iraq (59 percent say it made America less safe) and his lack of focus on the biggest dangers facing America (64 percent say China represents a significant threat to the U.S.)

But more than two-thirds support Obama's mantra that securing America means building strong alliances with foreign powers. And more than 60 percent think his use of drones and special forces teams for precision strikes — instead of large-scale military operations — has helped U.S. national security.

That’s a conflicted response to a president who entered the White House vowing to end U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan but instead leaves as the first American president to oversee two full terms with combat troops deployed to hostile zones.


Obama poll graphic 1
In a departure memo released Jan. 5, Defense Secretary Ash Carter defended Obama’s "record of progress" with the military by praising the White House moves as creating "a smaller yet more technologically advanced and capable military that is ready for the threats of today and the challenges of tomorrow."

"America is today the world’s foremost leader, partner, and underwriter of stability and security in every region across the globe, as we have been since the end of World War II," Carter wrote. "But even as we continue to fulfill this enduring role, it’s also evident that we’re entering a new strategic era … and it requires new ways of thinking and new ways of acting."

The White House did not respond to repeated requests for an interview with Obama to discuss his defense moves and the military legacy he’ll leave behind.

In a farewell speech during a military honor review on Jan. 4, Obama said he saw his top priority overseeing America’s military as balancing the need to use force with the need to honor the armed forces.

"You committed yourself to a life of service and of sacrifice," he said. "And I, in turn, made a promise to you … that I would only send you into harm's way when it is absolutely necessary, with the strategy, the well-defined goals, with the equipment and the support that you needed to get the job done. Because that’s what you rightfully expect and that is what you rightfully deserve."

Still, many troops see Obama less as a wartime commander in chief and more as a politician managing Pentagon affairs. Through his presidency Obama has repeatedly promised to keep the military "the strongest fighting force the world has ever known" but many troops question his stewardship of the institution, particularly when it comes to the defense budget.

'IT'S THE PRESIDENT'S FAULT'

"There’s no question this era will go down as the third ‘hollow’ army, and it’s the president’s fault," said James Jay Carafano, deputy director of international studies at the conservative Heritage Foundation. "For all his promises, the operations tempo hasn’t gone down as much as he hoped, and he has invested little in the military

  • Thanks 2
  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

President Donald Trump’s approval rating among active-duty military personnel has slipped over the last two years, leaving today’s troops evenly split over whether they’re happy with the commander in chief’s job performance, according to the results of a new Military Times poll of active-duty service members.

About 44 percent of troops had a favorable view of Trump’s presidency, the poll showed, compared to 43 percent who disapproved.

 

 

3VOYRDE25BAUZJ36AFEEFS7HJ4.png

  • Downvote 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

 

The latest reforms at the Department of Veterans Affairs under the Trump administration give me a lot of hope on this Veterans Day. As a veteran myself, I recognize that we must do more than honor the sacrifices and achievements of those who have answered the call of duty. It is about remembering our own duty as a society to ensure veterans are not left to fend for themselves with the challenges and issues service can bring.

I served during the Vietnam War, a conflict that put tremendous strain on servicemen and women and their families. Then 18 years of sustained conflict since 9/11 resulted in even more of the same stresses. Under that pressure, the safeguards we had in place to protect veterans faltered. By the final years of the Obama administration, the situation had blossomed into a full blown crisis, with veterans reportedly dying on waiting lists.

During the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump made correcting this problem one of his top priorities, and he has not relented on that objective since taking office. To that end, he has done everything in his power to wind down the seemingly endless wars of the last two administrations and avoid entangling our troops in any more bloody overseas conflicts.

President Trump has been adamant that Veterans Affairs establish the key programs to care for both the physical and psychological wounds of our returning service members. Through taking executive action and signing bipartisan reforms into law, he has time and again demonstrated his own commitment to delivering the reforms our veterans deserve. He has also made sure the government provides them adequate resources.

 

The budget allocation was a record $201 billion for Veterans Affairs this year, and the budget request for next year calls for raising that figure to $220 billion. Some of that money will go toward attracting medical and management talent to Veterans Affairs that was lacking in certain areas, a task furthered by the Veterans Affairs Choice and Quality Employment Act. The Trump administration has also taken crucial steps to improve the prospects of future veterans. The National Defense Authorization Act this year has raised military salaries by 2.6 percent, the most in nine years.

Money is not everything, though, which is why President Trump has also worked with lawmakers to reform how Veterans Affairs works and will continue to ensure that dollars are spent wisely for our veterans and their families. To that end, he signed the Veteran Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act, the Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, and the Mission Act, all designed to create flexible new treatment options while building a culture of accountability. The Mission Act notably allows veterans to use benefits at private medical facilities if their local Veterans Affairs hospital is unable to fully meet their needs.

On his own authority, President Trump has signed executive orders to improve treatment at Veterans Affairs. Understanding that suicide and mental health issues are very often as devastating as any physical injury incurred in the service, President Trump signed two executive orders specifically addressing suicide among veterans, which has ballooned to tragic levels. Veterans who live far from traditional federal hospitals can take advantage of new telehealth options to connect with doctors and therapists, including mental health professionals, from their homes.

The White House also launched an official hotline two years ago to help veterans navigate the complexities of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Since then, the hotline, primarily staffed by veterans and direct family members of veterans, has fielded more than a quarter million calls from veterans and resolved an impressive 94 percent of its cases. Our duty to our veterans is eternal. This Veterans Day, Americans can now be proud that our commander in chief is honoring our national promise to them.

 

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



  • Testing the Rocker Badge!

  • Live Exchange Rate

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.