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Trump said he fixed the Veterans Administration — but veterans are still killing themselves in VA parking lots

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Sad soldier

President Donald Trump pledged to fix the Department of Veterans Affairs and the VA. He signed a bill that would open up private care for veterans and celebrated his success. It’s been nearly a year and veterans are still killing themselves while sitting in VA parking lots, the Washington Post reported.

“We won’t forget what happened to our GREAT VETS,” Trump tweeted last year before Democrats took over Congress. “Choice is vital, but the program needs work & is running out of $. Congress must fix Choice Program by Memorial Day so VETS can get the care they deserve. I will sign immediately!”

The bill included $5.2 billion for the Choice Program.

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“Since taking office, and working alongside of the VFW — and, by the way, your representatives have done an incredible job on helping us with the VA,” Trump told the VFW in 2018. “A complicated subject. So many different things. They help us so much. Because we put in legislation — I said, let’s make sure it’s legislation that’s good and that works, not legislation that’s obsolete before we even get it. If we’re going to fight like hell to get everybody to approve it, let’s get approved what’s good. And we’ve enacted some of the largest VA reforms in the history of the VA. Probably the largest.”

He went on to tout his executive order creating the “White House Veterans Hotline,” which has no connection to the White House and goes to a call center in West Virginia.

“As promised, we established the White House VA Hotline, and every VA medical center now offers same-day emergency mental healthcare,” he told the VFW.

Just over six months later, the Post is detailing the outbreak of veteran suicides taking place in VA parking lots across the country.

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Justin Miller, a 33-year-old Marine Corps trumpet player and Iraq veteran “was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and suicidal thoughts when he checked into the Minneapolis Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in February 2018.” He spent four days in the mental-health unit before walking out to his truck and shooting himself.

His death was one of 19 veteran suicides in parking lots in just one year. According to The Military Times, the suicide rate for younger veterans has increased by more than 10 percent. Active-duty Army suicides reached their highest level since 2012, the military-centric site Task and Purpose reported in January. The Army lost 300 soldiers to suicide in 2018. Marine suicides also reached its highest level in a decade, despite the large-scale combat operations ending. Navy suicides joined the other branches, reaching it’s highest level since 2006, when data began being recorded.

Given the resources and attention to veterans and their mental health from the Trump administration, it’s unclear why the rate increased and the White House hasn’t commented. The VA also declined to comment to the Post, citing privacy concerns.

The only good news seems to be that the VA managed to prevent 233 suicide attempts between Oct. 2017 and Nov. 2018 on hospital grounds.

Read the full piece of the 19 veterans at the Washington Post.

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BUSTED: Ex-GOP state chairman was arrested — for the second time in two weeks

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On Friday, Idaho GOP chairman Jonathan Parker, who stepped down prior to being arrested for stalking, was arrested again. This time Parker was arrested for trespassing.

"Officers made contact with that man and identified him as Parker. Further investigation revealed that there is an active protection order between Parker and a woman living nearby — his estranged wife — and Parker was then arrested and charged with felony stalking. During his arraignment, the judge issued a issued a no-contact order, which bars Parker from getting within 500 feet of his wife," a report from the Idaho Statesman said.

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Impeachment is no longer about ‘registering outrage’ — it’s now about ‘averting an ongoing crisis’: columnist

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President Donald Trump continues to defy presidential norms.

Boston Globe’s Michael A. Cohen wrote that Trump's behavior would be laughable if it weren't so dangerous for Americans. Cohen explained that in one week, President Trump has shown to put his interest above the U.S.

Trump started the week by telling ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that he would take dirt on a rival from foreign operatives. He also downplayed the threat of North Korea.

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Trump expert Tony Schwartz reveals ‘all you need to know’ about the president

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The co-author of the president's 1987 autobiography Trump: The Art of the Deal on Friday revealed "all you need to know" about the commander-in-chief.

Tony Schwartz offered advice on how to respond to Trump as his behavior becomes even more erratic.

"As we all know, Trump is shameless and compulsive liar. Here's the solution: ignore everything he says -- everything," Schwartz counseled.

"Don't waste any energy in outrage," he continued.

"Just know nothing he says is ever true," Schwartz said. "That's all you need to know."

https://twitter.com/tonyschwartz/status/1139681718175014912

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