America's Veterans Need a Second Term of President Trump

Rep. Derrick Van Orden, R-Wis., a former Navy SEAL
Rep. Derrick Van Orden, R-Wis., a former Navy SEAL, waits to speak to reporters about the urgency of passing a Defense funding bill, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Sept. 15, 2023. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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I had the pleasure of serving in the United States Navy for 26 years, eventually retiring as a Navy SEAL senior chief with multiple combat deployments. Now, as a member of the United States House of Representatives, I am proud to serve as chairman of the House Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, where I oversee the transition from active-duty service member to veteran.

Serving my fellow veterans, and most importantly ending the scourge of veteran suicide, is my top priority in Congress. Tragically, President Joe Biden has failed our men and women in uniform, starting with the needless deaths of 13 service members and leaving behind as many as 9,000 Americans to live under Taliban rule during his disgraceful abandonment of Afghanistan.

President Donald Trump's record of support for our veterans and military families stands in stark contrast to Biden's failures. That is why I am proud to be a leading voice in supporting President Trump and his "Veterans for Trump" coalition.

Between 1.9 and 3 million U.S. service members have served in post-9/11 war operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. In August 2021, Biden failed all of us when he orchestrated a chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan that killed U.S. military men and women.. During the dignified transfer of those 13 heroes, Biden repeatedly checked his watch and, even today, Biden has never said their names out loud in public. That is reprehensible.

Biden has run the Department of Veterans Affairs with an equal amount of disrespect.

Recently, reports uncovered that Biden's VA paid nearly $11 million in bonuses to executives who were not eligible to receive them. Using funds intended to meet the needs of our veterans to instead line the pockets of career bureaucrats is a disgrace. It is also just one example of Biden's mismanagement of your tax dollars that has ultimately led to inflation for all American families.

Our veteran population was undoubtedly better off four years ago under Trump, who fought day in and day out to make sure his administration served those who defended our great nation.

Trump kept the VA's priorities straight and made sure that our government served veterans, not bureaucrats. He developed the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection to hold bad VA employees accountable and created a White House VA Hotline to help veterans, which was primarily staffed by veterans and their direct family members. The hotline answered more than 250,000 calls; 94% of cases from these calls were resolved.

Trump also fought to give our veterans the health care they deserve by signing the VA Mission Act, which expanded health care options for our veterans, including access to walk-in community clinics. He also offered greater access to telehealth services for my fellow veterans in rural communities through the VA's "Anywhere to Anywhere" program.

Most importantly, Trump ordered the formation of the PREVENTS Initiative to deliver help and mental health care to our struggling veterans and signed an executive order to ensure veterans receive mental health care for at least one year after their discharge from service.

The Trump presidency saw not just talk, but action, on behalf of our men and women in uniform.

Our nation's veterans risked their lives abroad to defend our families back at home. The most basic thing we can do to give back is to ensure they receive the benefits they earned. Now more than ever, our servicemen and women deserve a true advocate in the White House. I look forward to working closely with President Trump in pursuit of that mission when he is elected.

-- Derrick Van Orden represents Wisconsin's 3rd Congressional District in the House of Representatives, where he serves on the Veterans Affairs Committee.

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