Trump's promised veterans hotline not set up nearly 4 months later

Trump's promised veterans hotline not set up nearly 4 months later
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The Trump administration has not yet set up a promised White House hotline for veterans’ complaints nearly four months after President Trump took office, the Military Times reported.

Trump promised that the private hotline would be “devoted to answering veterans’ complaints of wrongdoing at the [Department of Veterans Affairs] and ensure no complaints fall through the cracks.”

The hotline was to be “active 24 hours a day answered by a real person."

“This could keep me very busy at night, folks,” Trump said during a July 26 rally. “This will take the place of Twitter.”

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White House officials told the Military Times they have no updates on when or whether the hotline will be established, while VA officials did not respond to requests for comment.

The hotline was included in Trump’s 10-point plan to help veterans, which was recently removed from Trump’s campaign website.

Trump’s reelection campaign told the Military Times the changes were made to help better inform the public with “fact-based information” on Trump’s accomplishments ahead of the 2020 campaign.

The 10-point plan was created last July while Trump was on the campaign trail. Only one bullet point in the plan appears to have been completed thus far: Trump’s vow to “appoint a VA Secretary whose sole purpose will be to serve veterans.”

The Senate confirmed VA Secretary David Shulkin in February.

Trump has repeatedly vowed in office and on the campaign trail to reform the VA and increase accountability at the department, calling the effort one of the “crown jewels” of his administration.

The VA has been criticized for years for failing to quickly fire bad employees, as well as overseeing long wait times for medical appointments and a slow benefits appeal process.

Trump signed an executive order in April creating the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection, a new, wide-reaching office within the VA that can weed out poorly performing employees and protect whistleblowers.

Lawmakers last week introduced a bill that would legally establish the new office. If passed, it would touch on four of the plan’s points: “to remove and discipline the federal employees and managers who have violated the public’s trust; ask that Congress pass legislation that empowers the Secretary of the VA to discipline or terminate any employee who has jeopardized the health, safety or well-being of a veteran; protect and promote honest employees at the VA who highlight wrongdoing;” and “stop giving bonuses to any VA employees who are wasting money.”

Trump also pledged in the 10-point plan to create a commission “to investigate all the fraud, cover-ups, and wrongdoing that has taken place in the VA.”

Such a commission has yet to be announced.