According to The Washington Post, a group of former Trump national security and defense officials have formed a new advocacy group with the intent of promoting the former president's veteran care policy — and undermining President Joe Biden's.
"Veterans 4 America First Institute is modeled after the America First Policy Institute, the post-Trump group that launched in April with a multimillion-dollar budget and is one of several efforts by former Trump administration officials to push his priorities," reported Lisa Rein. "The new effort is led for now by volunteers who said they are committed to 'effective management and accountability' at VA and the Defense Department, with a particular focus on what they called an intransigent VA bureaucracy."
The founders of the group include former VA adviser Darin Selnick, former acting VA Secretary Peter O'Rourke, former White House chief information security officer Camilo Sandoval, former VA and Pentagon official Jason Beardsley, and former DOJ official Reed Rubenstein.
The effort, according to the report, appears aimed at pressuring VA Secretary Denis McDonough to continue Trump's policies of referring as many veterans as possible into private care.
"The debate over private health care for veterans enrolled in the VA system has taken center stage in recent years, following a scandal over long wait times at the agency's Phoenix hospital. Conservatives have favored more options outside the system, while Democrats and their allies in the labor movement have argued that the government system overall offers the best care," said the report. "VA had referred about 31 percent of veterans to appointments with private doctors by the end of the Trump administration, according to agency figures. McDonough has praised the government system and said it provides top-notch care."
The Veterans Choice Program, which lets veterans use their VA benefits at community care centers, was signed into law under President Barack Obama. Trump expanded the program, and has repeatedly lied that he created it.