Richmond, VA — Following the news that Vice President Mike Pence is planning to speak at Virginia Military Institute next week, Derek W. Kitts, DPVA Veterans Caucus Chair and First Sergeant USA (ret), released the following statement:
"VMI cadets and alumni deserve elected leaders who honor their service by safeguarding them and their families at home and abroad. The current administration of Donald Trump and Mike Pence has repeatedly failed our Commonwealth's veterans and military families in that sacred duty. Within the Commonwealth of Virginia, military construction projects have had their budgets stripped so that Trump can illegally divert millions of dollars to his failed border wall.
Additionally the administration knowingly turned a blind eye and failed to protect American Soldiers, Marines, and Airmen by allowing a hostile foreign government to place bounties on them. This administration has repeatedly broken its most solemn oath, to protect America’s sons and daughters that are fighting in the name of freedom."
- Despite promising that Mexico would pay for the wall, Trump has siphoned money from military projects in Virginia to pay for his failed border wall.
- Trump forced the military to divert $3.6 billion away from critical construction projects for his wall, including over $77 million in funding from Virginia military projects, even though the Pentagon warned that pulling this money would lead to “dire outcomes” that could put our troops’ lives at risk.
- Naval bases in Virginia top the list of military bases most vulnerable to climate change, so Trump’s decisions to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement, staff his cabinet with fossil fuel lobbyists, and roll back dozens of environmental protection rules will exacerbate the threats to Virginia’s military bases.
- Trump and Pence have also failed to fix problems at the VA, which has left the country’s primary provider of health care to veterans unequipped to handle the challenges of the pandemic.
- A report from Congress showed that the VA was facing nearly 50,000 staffing vacancies last year.
- Trump and his Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie pushed an unproven COVID treatment on veterans even though the VA’s own research showed more patients who were given the drug died of COVID.