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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!”

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The bill included $5.2 billion for the Choice Program.

“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.

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“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.

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.

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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.

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

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Trump is ‘having a full-blown mental breakdown’ and needs to resign: Ex-Trump staffer

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Leading Republican elected officials should work with President Donald Trump's family to negotiate him resigning from office, a former top White House official suggested on MSNBC on Friday.

Former White House press secretary Anthony Scaramucci blasted his former boss during an interview with Chuck Todd on MSNBC's "Meet the Press Daily."

"He has totally and completely lost it. There is nobody that can look at the situation, read the tweets, look at the press sprays, and say he hasn’t lost it," Scaramucci argued.

"What does that mean, lost it?" Todd asked. "Define that."

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Trump responds to China raising tariffs — by raising tariffs on over half a trillion dollars in Chinese goods

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After US markets tanked on Friday, President Donald Trump dramatically escalated his trade war with China.

"For many years China (and many other countries) has been taking advantage of the United States on trade, intellectual property theft, and much more. Our country has been losing hundreds of billions of dollars a year to China, with no end in sight," Trump tweeted.

"Sadly, past Administrations have allowed China to get so far ahead of fair and balanced trade that it has become a great burden to the American taxpayer. As President, I can no longer allow this to happen," he argued.

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MSNBC anchor blasts Trump’s ‘lunacy’ after ‘a Twitter tirade that sent the Dow spiraling’

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The New York Stock Exchange closed down over 600 points on Friday as President Donald Trump's trade war with China escalated.

MSNBC anchor John Heilemann said, "we’re hours away for the president taking off to the G7 summit in Bairritz, France, where allies are bracing for the Trump-fueled mayhem that is now 100% certain to ensue, with Trump like a drunken traveler in the departure lounge about to take a trip that he dreads, already sewing global chaos, days-long public meltdown typically moved from words to actions."

"Donald Trump beginning this day with a Twitter tirade that sent the Dow spiraling, closing down more than 600 points today and escalating his trade war with China with these norm-shattering, power-abusing words in this tweet," he said, putting the tweet on-screen.

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