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Why Does Matt Rosendale Oppose Veterans at Every Turn? Even Trump Admits His VA Pick Was Unqualified

UNITED STATES - August 29: Matt Rosendale (R) Montana during an interview at Roll Call in Washington, D.C. (Photo By Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Matt Rosendale is opposed to providing veterans the respect and resources they have earned for serving our country. He’s opposed to them having facilities close to home here in Montana, he’s opposed to providing scholarships to Purple Heart recipients, and he’s opposed to loan assistance for veterans who are first-time homebuyers.

I’m not sure Republicans could have found a candidate with a worse record on veterans’ issues to run for the Senate.

On top of that, he apparently doesn’t believe that the VA should even have a competent administrator in charge of the organization that provides care for our veterans. Rosendale has spent an enormous amount of time(including yet another Facebook post this morning) complaining that Jon Tester blocked the appointment of Admiral Ronny Jackson to head the VA.

Veterans should be thankful because Admiral Jackson was in no way qualified to head the VA.

Who says so? President Trump. He said so last night, and he even said it when he chose Jackson to head the VA.

During last night’s rambling collection of non-sequiturs, Trump let the truth about Jackson slip. According to Breitbart (yes, Breitbart):

Trump now says Ronny Jackson may not have been qualified to run the VA but would have done a “fantastic” and “great job.”

It turns out that heading the VA is not like being President. The former job requires intensive management experience, not just jetting around the country for political rallies and games of golf. Appointing someone without the experience to lead a massive federal organization, especially one that has been plagued with funding and management issues, would have been a disaster for veterans, and Rosendale should be ashamed of his almost obsessive defense of this unqualified nominee.

And Trump finally admitted what everyone knew the moment he nominated Jackson, a doctor who claimed that an obese 70 year-old-man who lives on McDonalds was in excellent health. Jackson, who might have been a likable enough fellow, wasn’t remotely qualified for the gig.

From Vanity Fair:

On Capitol Hill, one Republican aide told The Washington Post that appointing Jackson “could be a disaster for vets,” adding, “What has this guy ever managed? Can he really take on one of the toughest jobs in government?” Carl Blake, executive director of Paralyzed Veterans of America, offered ominously: “We are all headed into the deep unknown now.” One former V.A. official was more blunt, telling Politico that his “first reaction was O.M.G. That’s still my reaction. . . . The V.A. is the hardest department to manage as it is so political.”

From Vox:

Jackson, by contrast, is wildly unqualified for the job over and above any misconduct issues. Despite the misconduct allegations, he was well-liked by both Trump and his predecessors Barack Obama and George W. Bush — three presidents who have massive disagreements on policy and style between them. But I like my doctor too. And he definitely doesn’t overprescribe medicine, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t drink on the job or harass subordinates either. Still, I wouldn’t propose putting him in charge of a large federal agency, because he’s, you know, a doctor rather than someone with vast administrative experience.

From Trump himself, during the confirmation process:

The president did not pretend to make an argument that Jackson is actually qualified for the job of running a department that Trump has insisted is one of his top priorities. Instead, he said pretty much the opposite: “I know there’s an experience problem, because lack of experience. But there’s an experience problem — the Veterans Administration is very important to me.”

All of this goes to the heart of why Matt Rosendale is so wrong for Montana. He’s a creature of Fox News, basing his positions on the issues on conspiracy theories and ginned-up accusations that appeal to people who believe that Sean Hannity is a credible source of information. He’s relying on support for man even the President knows wasn’t qualified to head the VA because it makes for a good talking point for his badly misinformed followers, not because he wants what would be best for the VA and the veterans it is meant to serve.

It’s time for Rosendale to agree with President Trump and admit what we all know: Admiral Jackson had no business being chosen to head the VA, and we’re lucky that Jon Tester was there to demand a qualified nominee.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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