“Our military has never been in stronger shape,” President Donald Trump said in a tweeted video Thursday morning. “There’s never been a president that has your back like I do.”
The two-minute-long video of the president, wholly dedicated to touting his contributions to military personnel and veterans, included mention of the Army’s new uniforms, troop pay increases, Department of Veterans Affairs approval rates and the Mission Act.
“I took over a depleted military -- old equipment, broken equipment,” Trump said. He then says he spent $2.5 trillion to provide the military with equipment that’s “never been better.”
“New tanks and planes. F-35s. All of the best of everything nobody thought was possible,” Trump said. “The military has never been in stronger shape whether it’s rockets or missiles or anything you can name. We’re building a lot of ships right now. We’re getting our Navy back to where it should be.”
While Trump’s Defense budgets have been higher than those in the latter years of the Obama administration, only about 20% of that $2.5 trillion actually went to new equipment.
As for veterans, Trump said his administration put “accountability” in place at the VA that has been absent for 45 years.
“VA would be treating people badly and we couldn’t do anything about the people that were treating our great soldiers, our great heroes badly. Now you fire them right away because of accountability. For 45 years they were trying to get that,” Trump said.
A VA office of accountability, established by Trump and touted as one of his hallmark efforts to help veterans and improve the massive federal agency, has recommended action against seven leaders in the last two years, an August report showed. That office has received thousands of complaints against VA leaders since it was established. Over the course of two years, the office investigated 389 of those complaints and recommended action against seven staffers in leadership roles. Previous watchdog reports also found that office ineffective in its role to protect whistleblowers and revealed that the office itself may have been targeting those it was intended to defend.
Trump also mentioned his oft-touted Mission Act which replaced former President Barack Obama’s expiring Choice Act, calling the Choice program a “weak version that didn’t work” and a “joke.” According to Trump, the Mission Act “worked out fantastically well” and led to the 91% approval rating from veterans.
A report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) last Monday revealed that few hospitals had the staff in place to handle the Mission Act’s expansion of services and wait times for service were going unregulated. By not overseeing wait times, VA may be violating the Mission Act, which places the responsibility on the department.
The 91% approval rating -- another figure Trump mentions regularly -- may to internal, voluntary VA surveys provided to veterans.
“So I just want to tell you we have your back,” Trump said twice.