President Trump was mocked online after he took credit for passing the “Veterans Choice and Accountability” act, a bill signed into law by President Obama in 2014, during a speech at the White House Friday honoring American veterans ahead of the Memorial Day weekend.
“You know, we got the Veterans Choice and Accountability,” Trump said according to the official White House transcript of his remarks. “Choice is when they wait for two months to see a doctor before. They have to wait like a few hours. They outside, they get themselves a good doctor, we pay the bill, and they get taken care of. So, you know, the stories were legendary. You don’t hear bad things about the VA anymore. You used turn on — every night, you’d see a horror show. So, I want to thank you. You’ve done a fantastic job, Robert. What a great job.”
“Accountability, also. We got VA Accountability,” he told the crowd. “Sounds easy, but when you have civil service and you have unions and you have all of this — for 40, 50 years, they’ve been trying to get rid of it. That’s — they don’t take care of our vets, we fire them. Before, you couldn’t. They were sadists. They were thieves. And I think you’ve let go of more than 8,000 people — right? — who were terrible. They’ve been trying to fire them for years. They didn’t take care of our vets. Just the opposite: They were horrible. Now they’re gone. We got them out. So that’s a big thing. So it’s Robert Wilkie. Thank you very much.”
As VOX’s Aaron Rupar notes, the “Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014” was signed into law by President Obama in 2014.
Rep. Ted Lieu mocked the president, tweeting: “Thank you Obama!”
Thank you Obama! https://t.co/MOM7xG0Rq3
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) May 22, 2020
As FactCheck.org notes, Trump “has continued the Veterans Choice Program, a program started in 2014 following a scandal over wait times at Veterans Affairs facilities. The program was created through the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act, a bipartisan bill that was signed by President Barack Obama.”
“The Veterans Choice Program allows some veterans who experience difficulty obtaining care from a Veterans Affairs medical facility to seek care elsewhere. To qualify, veterans must be enrolled in the VA health care system and demonstrate certain barriers to using the VA system (such as wait time or distance),” it notes. “In 2017, Trump signed a bill that eliminated the program’s expiration date and twice signed legislation (in August and December) that authorized funding to keep the program afloat.”
As Snopes noted in 2019, this isn’t the first time Trump has attempted to take credit for Obama’s VA bill.
Trump also took credit for the 2014 VA bill in 2018, according to Politifact.
*just took credit again
PolitiFact – Donald Trump: GOP just passed veteran's Choice after 44-year wait. Actually, it's 4 years old https://t.co/EhurthdeCl
— Denise Shearin 🌊 (@DeniseShearin) May 22, 2020