For veterans hoping to hear about the Republican presidential candidates’ ideas for improving veterans’ health care, the first primary debate was a letdown.
CVA staff on the ground in Milwaukee and around the country hoped to hear anything about these candidates’ plans to improve veterans’ health care.
Through our #VeteransVoicesCount campaign on Twitter, we tried to build momentum for the candidates to address staggering wait times at the Department of Veterans Affairs, shocking veteran suicide numbers, and continuing lack of access to community care for veterans using their VA health care benefits.
— David Huston (@DHustonFL) August 23, 2023
Unfortunately, nobody on stage at this debate had anything helpful to say about veterans or the issues that matter most to them, just lip service to win veterans’ approval.
“When I arrived in Milwaukee for the GOP debate, I was hoping to hear real solutions for the rising suicide rate among our veterans and the general lack of health care options,” Army veteran Brian Fay said. “Instead, all I got was rhetoric, shouting matches and questions about UFO’s! The only thing unidentifiable I saw was their plan to do better by our veterans.”
Here’s a recap of CVA’s debate coverage and what veterans thought about the lack of health care solutions from the candidates.
CVA Deputy Director John Byrnes had some blunt feedback about the candidates handling of veterans and their issues
Too bad the few mentions of veterans @GopDebate tonight were self serving and not about fixing health care for veterans. Veterans deserve better #VeteranVoicesCount! #Disappointed! pic.twitter.com/cv7lt9MRMB
— John Byrnes (@JohnByrnes13) August 24, 2023
Air Force veteran Ian Robinson watched the debate from South Carolina, where he was hoping to hear about how the candidates would address continuing failure at the VA.
— Concerned Veterans for America (@ConcernedVets) August 24, 2023
Army veteran Jimmie Smith shared a disconcerting fact about candidates talking about community care access for veterans.
Polls showed Veterans Affairs is the number 4 issue to Americans.
Below is a picture of those candidates who addressed the Department of Veterans Affairs denying access, discouraging use of Community Care for mental health or the possible undercounting of veterans suicide. pic.twitter.com/OhhOhv2xiO
— Jimmie T. Smith (@JimmieTSmith) August 24, 2023
Marine Corps veteran Tim Taylor with a sad but true catch.
So far black rifle coffee has more veteran content in the commercials than the debate…#VeteransVoicesCount
— Tim Taylor (@taylor_usmc72) August 24, 2023
Veterans’ issues are America’s issues. We have a responsibility to ensure veterans voices are heard and their issues are taken seriously, including giving them better access to health care options.
Throughout the primaries and into the general election, we will continue to call for better health care access for veterans. They deserve nothing less.
Read more about what we want to hear about veterans health care from presidential candidates.