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Opinion

Readers React: Trump’s not thinking about what vets want

David Shulkin
Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin testifies on Capitol Hilll, on March 21.
(Jose Luis Magana / Associated Press)

To the editor: In yet another head-spinning display of hypocrisy, President Trump named Dr. Ronny Jackson, the White House physician, to head the Department of Veterans Affairs. Through this appointment, Trump managed to torpedo two of his most oft-repeated claims on the campaign trail: 1) That veterans have been “horribly, horribly treated” in the past and he was going to “fix it,” and 2) that Trump hired only “the best people.” (“Veterans Affairs Chief Shulkin is fired,” March 29)

Words are inadequate to describe the inappropriateness of this appointment. Dr. Jackson’s only qualification for the post seems to be giving a glowing assessment of the president’s physical fitness. His ego stoked, Trump responded by naming Jackson, a physician with no experience running any type of bureaucracy, to lead an agency that is larger, more complex and far more consequential than many Fortune 500 companies.

If Trump truly cared about veterans, he would have done what any business executive looking to fill an executive position would have done: have a committee of experts conduct a search for candidates best suited to run a complex and vital agency. Using a pre-established list of criteria, the committee would have narrowed the search to a few of the best choices, and Trump would have interviewed them and selected the most appropriate one.

What did Trump do? He chose a doctor whom he knew personally (from his physical), and who had praised him publicly. Search over!

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Our veterans deserve much, much better than this. They deserve a president who will make looking after their life and death issues a top national priority, rather than choosing to fill a critical position with yet another sycophant whom he believes will simply be “loyal” to him.

Matthew Singerman, Newbury Park

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To the editor: The president should leave the golf course and spend a few mornings at a Veterans Affairs clinic or hospital talking to veterans and asking them how they are doing. I have used VA medical for years and found the doctors and staff very professional and caring and the wait times no different from a private facility. Please don’t privatize.

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Herman I. Morris, Plano, Texas

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