Trump is trying to take credit for a bill that was passed in 2014

Joe Sommerlad@JoeSommerlad
Thursday 25 April 2019 15:15
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US president Donald Trump(Jim Watson/AFP/Getty)

Donald Trump is well known for his wild Twitter sprees, serving up hot bile and taunting nicknames to everyone from his political opponents to The New York Times, Meryl Streep and Robert Pattinson.

But on Wednesday the president did something surprising. He actually praised a rival.

The recipient of his unexpected good grace was the popular Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whom he had patronisingly dismissed earlier this month as "a young bartender" at a Republican dinner, referencing the 29-year-old's line of work before she entered the savage world of Washington politics with a stunning upset last year.

Trump agreed with AOC about the positive state of the Department of Veteran Affairs, which looks after healthcare for US military veterans, after she summed up the organisation at a town hall meeting in New York last week with the words: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".

While Trump did support her point of view, he couldn't resist taking credit on behalf of his administration, citing the Veterans Choice & Accountability Act.

Which is interesting, as the bill in question - ensuring ex-members of the armed forces have proper access to medical support following a scandal over waiting times that erupted when it emerged 40 veterans had died while awaiting treatment in Phoenix, Arizona - was actually signed into law in August 2014 by Barack Obama.

The Trump administration only signed a bill extending its scope in April 2017.

In his rush to take credit, Trump also only took into account a fraction of what AOC said.

She was actually being deeply critical of Republican interest in privatising the Department of Veteran Affairs and arguing it ought to be left well alone.

Here's what she actually said:

When it comes to the VA, all I can think of is that classic refrain that my parents always told me growing up, which is that, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’

That is their opening approach that we have seen when it comes to privatisation. The idea that this thing that isn’t broken, this thing that provides the highest quality care to our veterans somehow needs to be fixed, optimised, tinkered with, until - until we don’t even recognise it anymore.

It's almost as if the president of the United States doesn't particularly care about what's true and just fires off tweets impulsively without worrying about inconvenient truths.

Fake news!

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