From The Oppo File…Trump Dumped Vets For Reserve Duty

From Trump’s near-bursting opposition files. It’s like the X-files but not as compelling. This is from 1988.

The most litigious presidential candidate ever settled at least three lawsuits brought by veterans who sued because Trump’s companies fired, or refused to hire them because of military reserve time commitments. With Trump, it’s do as I say, not as I do, and “believe me,” we’re going to take care of our veterans.

A digested version from HuffPo:

According to [orders he submitted to his bosses at Eastern, U.S. Air Force Col. Charles] Beattie was to attend the elite Industrial College of the Armed Forces for nine months, starting in August. As required by law, Eastern Airlines granted Beattie a leave of absence to fulfill his military service commitment.

While Beattie was deployed to the Industrial College, a high-flying Donald Trump, just 42 years old, bought Eastern Air for $365 million.

As part of the deal Trump signed with Eastern for the shuttle service, Trump was required to offer employment to all Eastern personnel. All told, Trump Shuttle hired around 200 pilots from Eastern Air. But it did not hire Beattie.

Beattie had applied for a job with Trump Shuttle, like the rest of his fellow Eastern pilots, but his orders from the Army college required that he stay until June to complete his assignment. For his would-be bosses at Trump Shuttle, that was a deal-breaker.

Trump’s lawyers tried to parse words, claiming that Beattie was passed over because he was “unavailable” and his attendance at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces was “voluntary.” Now anyone familiar with military orders knows that once you have them, they’re hardly voluntary. Of course, it was a voluntary act for Col. Beattie to apply for the school, but all of that happened well before Trump bought Eastern.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Flannery didn’t buy that argument. Citing 38 U.S.C. § 2021:

The plain language of § 2021(b) (3) quickly disposes of Trump’s argument that the VRRA protects only Beattie’s right to reinstatement. Section 2021(b) (3) clearly provides protection against discrimination to any reservist “who seeks or holds” an employment position. 38 U.S.C. § 2021(b) (3) (emphasis added). The provision also provides that a reservist “shall not be denied hiring, retention in employment, or any promotion …” Id. (emphasis added). Clearly, § 2021(b) (3) prohibits discrimination based upon reserve obligations against the first-time job applicant as well as against the employee seeking to return to his or her previous position.

The main reason Trump fought so hard against hiring Col. Beattie is because the Trump Shuttle insisted that all pilots be available to start work on Feb. 1., 1989, according to the HuffPo report. Of course, Beattie was on orders at the time and could not report. Trump’s business needs therefore trumped (pun intended) his commitment to veterans.

Trump’s lawyers noted (and the Court agreed) that other pilots employed with the Trump Shuttle were reservists. But they were able to comply with the company’s requirement without compromising their military service.

HuffPo reported earlier of two other cases where an Air Force senior master sergeant and a U.S. Army staff sergeant were fired from Trump businesses in 2007. All three instances resulted in Trump settling with the complainants. Beattie’s case was settled with a consent judgment in 1991. He passed away in 2014.

Granted, a man like Trump, who has hired tens of thousands (according to himself) over the years he’s been in business, will have these kinds of issues from time to time. But these are just the ones resulting in lawsuits. How many more instances were there where the fired/passed over person simply walked away?

The fish stinks at the head. Trump’s companies don’t care about taking care of veterans, they care about taking care of business. They think that way because Trump thinks that way. He only gave $1 million to veterans because the Washington Post held his feet to the fire. He only settled those cases because those vets brought him to court.

Trump’s talk about taking care of veterans is just that: Empty talk.

Believe Me: Trump Refuses To Prove Vets Got All The Money

“Why should I give you the records,” Donald Trump told the Washington Post earlier this month. “I don’t have to give you records.”

Did Trump or didn’t Trump raise the $6 million he claimed for veterans groups when he boycotted the January pre-Iowa caucus debate on Fox News?

Campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said the fundraiser actually netted about $4.5 million, or 75 percent of the total that Trump announced.

Lewandowski blamed the shortfall on Trump’s own wealthy acquaintances. He said some of them had promised big donations that Trump was counting on when he said he had raised $6 million. But Lewandowski said those donors backed out and gave nothing.

“There were some individuals who he’d spoken to, who were going to write large checks, [who] for whatever reason . . . didn’t do it,” Lewandowski said in a telephone interview. “I can’t tell you who.”

As always, Trump wants us to believe him because he said so. His net worth, his tax return, his medical records, all of it is one big “believe me.”

But nobody, even the vaunted news hounds at the Washington Post, can account for the money, even the reduced $4.5 million total Lewandowski cited.

Group after group contacted by WaPo couldn’t shed any light on the untracked money. If we believe Trump’s statement that $670,000 was raised from small-dollar donors over the Internet, a total of $4.45 million was raised. Of course we don’t know from anyone except Trump himself if he gave the promised $1 million of his own funds.

Trump provided no official way for charities to apply for the money. Groups around the country still tried, sending letters and hitting up local veterans-for-Trump leaders.

We have no idea if all that cash was really distributed. But Trump called the newspaper “dishonest” for reporting that fact.

A suggestion for the dishonest media.

A video posted by Donald J. Trump (@realdonaldtrump) on

Because “believe me.”

Former Marine Partners With Rep. DeSantis on Bill to Match Veterans With Service Dogs

Yesterday morning, Congressman Ron DeSantis (R-FL) introduced the Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemen (PAWS) Act.

DeSantis was joined by bill co-sponsor Congressman Keith Rothfus (R-PA), former Marine Cole Lyle, and several members representing veterans groups. The Florida congressman, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat in Florida being vacated by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), is also a Navy veteran.

If passed, the PAWS Act would create a a five-year, $10 million pilot program under the Department of Veterans Affairs to pair veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with service dogs. This bill was largely inspired by Cole Lyle, who served six years in the Marine Corps. Here’s more about the bill and what it seeks to accomplish:

  • The PAWS Act creates a pilot program that pairs post-9/11 veterans with the most severe levels of post-traumatic stress with service dogs. Additionally, they must have completed an evidence-based treatment and remain significantly symptomatic by clinical standards.
  • Qualified veterans may then be referred to an Assistance Dog International accredited organization or private provider for a service dog pairing. The VA will provide $27,000 per dog to the organization (as determined by the average costs to acquire and train a service dog).
  • To maintain eligibility, including VA-provided veterinary health insurance for the service dog, the veteran must see a VA primary care doctor or mental health care provider at least quarterly.
  • Finally, the PAWS Act tasks the Government Accountability Office with conducting a study to evaluate the effectiveness of the program.
  • The PAWS Act authorizes $10 million for the program.

Here’s a list of current co-sponsors: Republican Reps. Mike Bishop (Mich.), Bradley Byrne (Ala.), Renee Ellmers (N.C.), Bill Flores (Texas), Tom Rooney (Fla.), Keith Rothfus (Penn.), Matt Salmon (Ariz.), Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), Martha McSally (Ariz.), Mark Meadows (N.C.), Richard Nugent (Fla.) and Randy Weber (Texas), and Democratic Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii), Hank Johnson (Ga.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.).

Following a 400-day deployment to Afghanistan in November 2011, former Marine Cole Lyle soon began to feel the effects of PTSD. Unsure what to do, Cole sought help from the VA where they proscribed him some medicine and professional help. After nearly two years of anti-depressants, sleep aides, and psychiatrist appointments that proved ineffective, Cole turned to a better option: a service dog. Using his own funding, Cole set aside $10,000 to be matched with his dog, Kaya, through a private organization. Ever since being paired with his German Shepherd, Cole has been able to recover from and overcome many symptoms of PTSD.

Today, Congressman DeSantis and Cole appeared on Fox & Friends to discuss the bill. The full clip of the appearance can be found below:

An estimated 155,000 troops who’ve served in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, or 11-20 percent of veterans, are currently suffering from PTSD. Conventional treatment methods for PTSD are largely ineffective, as Cole and countless others can attest to. Given the VA’s gross and egregious mistreatment of veterans, this type of reform–among many reforms–is desperately needed.

Numerous studies suggest dog owners have a lowered risk of heart disease, depression, or low-blood pressure invited by stress. That’s why many universities–including my alma mater UC-San Diego–have introduced therapy fluffies, or thera-fluffies, during finals week to help students cope with stress. If dogs can help students de-stress, they can certainly help the nation’s finest men and women cope with and overcome the deleterious effects of PTSD.

I’ve seen firsthand how service dogs help returning veterans–particularly with the case of Cole Lyle and his dog Kaya since Cole is a personal friend of mine. I’ve seen firsthand how happy and positive he is due to her presence.

Kaya serves to help, attend to, and stand by her owner. Kaya isn’t just a dog. Kaya keeps Cole focused, calm, and forward-thinking–feelings that drugs and professional help obviously can’t produce. Not only is Kaya well-behaved and adept at performing her duties as a service dog, she’s affectionate, sweet, and loyal. If passed, the PAWS Act would help fill a huge void created by the VA.

There’s nothing more heartwarming than man’s best friend helping out one of our nation’s finest.

Kudos to Congressman Ron DeSantis for taking the initiative to sponsor this bill. Not only should he be applauded for this reform bill, he should also be applauded for his stellar conservative track record in the House of Representatives. He will surely serve the people of Florida well if elected to the U.S. Senate this year.

Trump Raises Millions For Trump

Donald Trump made a big deal of raising cash for veterans in his alternate-reality event to compete with the Fox News-sponsored GOP debate last night.

Today Donald J. Trump hosted an event to raise money for Veterans organizations in Des Moines, Iowa. The GOP frontrunner spoke to a record crowd at Drake University and was joined by special guests, including Senator Rick Santorum and Governor Mike Huckabee, as well as Veterans, throughout the night. Mr. Trump personally contributed $1 million dollars to the cause and raised an additional $5 million before the one-hour event concluded, totaling more than $6 million dollars.

I love the part about the “special guests” Santorum and Huckabee, who have sealed their fate in an ignominious end to their campaigns (even if they don’t formally withdraw, they are done).

But where did the cash “to the cause” go? The Donald J. Trump Foundation.

The Donald J Trump Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. An email confirmation with a summary of your donation will be sent to the email address provided above.

Trump was called out on Twitter for using Shutterstock model photos on the one-page “give us money” site.

After CNN criticized him for not supplying the list of charities to whom the money will go, Trump finally published the list, which does not include the scandal-plagued Wounded Warrior Project.

What makes this a childish and transparent case of pandering is the fact that Trump has donated more to the Clintons and World Wrestling Entertainment than to veterans groups in the last 10 years.

Tax forms examined by The Daily Beast show that in 2009, the Donald J. Trump Foundation gave a whopping $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation (then called the William J. Clinton Foundation). The following year, Trump’s Foundation, a registered 501c group, gave another $10,000 to the Clinton Foundation. Topping this off was a hefty gift of $1,000,000 to World Wrestling Entertainment, a company for which Trump has made appearances in the past.

Over a five-year span, from 2009 to 2013, the foundation gave just $57,000 to veterans’ groups, according to an estimate Forbes made last December. A significant portion of that comes from a single $25,000 donation in 2011, to the Fisher House, which helps provide homes to veterans and their families.

Trump feels that money can buy anything: politicians, voters, and now even veterans groups. Not all of them can be bought off though. The founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America tweeted that he doesn’t want Trump’s cash.

I can only imagine the pandemonium in the Trump campaign office as staffers called as many veterans groups as they could gather in a short time to get that list together. As in everything Trump does, it was all done for theatrical value. The man does nothing without expecting something in return.

That’s the art of Trump’s deal.