Trump and Veterans: Recalling the Reagan Legacy

By Ed Timperlake

President Reagan would be very proud of Donald Trump’s approach to helping Veterans.

Donald Trump’s just announced Ten Point Plan to Reform DVA is powerful and insightful.

It is reminiscent of Candidate and then President Reagan’s actions.

Reagan stated that the Carter Administration’s treatment of Vietnam Combat Veterans as guilt-ridden victims was just wrong.


President Reagan changed the national debate by saying that those who served fought in a noble cause.

To a generation of Vet’s Reagan’s words rang out.

Ronald Reagan’s wish to neutralize the “problem” of the Vietnam veteran as outsiders was evident in his speeches praising Vietnam veterans’ faithfulness, applauding other Americans for welcoming them home, and observing that America had consequently transcended “the tragedies of the past” and come together “in unity and with resolve.”

The Reagan administration’s wish to do away with negative stereotypes of Vietnam veterans was also evident in the activities of a little-remarked federal organization, the Vietnam Veterans Leadership Program (VVLP).

“The decades of decay, division and decline will come to an end. The years of American Greatness will return.” Donald Trump

It is time now for a bold new approach: accountability first before the tired formula that no real accountability just more money equals support.

No accountability no check:

(1) Mr. Trump will appoint a VA Secretary whose sole purpose will be to serve veterans. The Obama Administration has continually placed D.C. bureaucrats’ needs above those of veterans, this will not happen under a Trump Administration.

(2) Mr. Trump will use the powers of the presidency to remove and discipline the federal employees and managers who have violated the public’s trust and failed to carry out the duties on behalf of our veterans.

(3) Mr. Trump will ask that Congress pass legislation that empowers the Secretary of the VA to discipline or terminate any employee who has jeopardized the health, safety or well-being of a veteran.

(4) Mr. Trump will create a commission to investigate all the fraud, cover-ups, and wrong-doing that has taken place in the VA, and present these findings to Congress for to spur legislative reform.

(5) Mr. Trump will protect and promote honest employees at the VA who highlight wrongdoing, and he will guarantee their jobs will be protected.

(6) Mr. Trump will create a private White House hotline, which will be active 24 hours a day answered by a real person. It will be devoted to answering veteran’s complaints of wrongdoing at the VA and ensure no complaints fall through the cracks.

(7) Mr. Trump will stop giving bonuses to any VA employees who are wasting money, and start rewarding employees who seek to improve the VA’s service, cut waste, and save lives.

(8) Mr. Trump will reform the visa system to ensure veterans are at the front of the line for health services, not the back.

(9) Mr. Trump will increase the number of mental health care professionals, and allow veteran’s to be able to seek mental health care outside of the VA.

(10) Mr. Trump will ensure that every veteran has the choice to seek care at the VA or at a private service provider of their own choice. Under a Trump Administration, no veteran will die waiting for service. These days are over starting January 2017.

Ed Timperlake is the former Principal Director, Mobilization Planning and Requirements/OSD in President Reagan’s Administration, and the first Assistant Secretary, Congressional and Public Affairs, Department of Veterans Affairs.

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2 responses to “Trump and Veterans: Recalling the Reagan Legacy”

  1. Tom McIntosh says:

    The Great Reagan supported Vietnam Vets by repeatedly declaring the Vietnam War was a “noble cause.” Phony Donnie has betrayed Iraq Vets by repeatedly echoing the Code Pink refrain, “Bush lied and people died;” inferring their sacrifice was a “yuge” mistake….

  2. Larry Caird says:

    I worked in Health Care Management and Public Affairs for the VA during the Reagan Administration. In spite of identifying Veterans as being covered by his “safety net,” he cut VA funding regularly. In addition to cutting funds, he sequestered funds provided by Congress, not allowing us to use them. I was in the position of having to tell Veterans and the community that we would not be able to treat all who applied for care. That is the real legacy of Ronald Reagan. I have little doubt that the Trump Administration will live down to this example.

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