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Published: Monday, September 26, 2016 @ 9:30 AM
Updated: Monday, September 26, 2016 @ 9:44 AM
BUTLER COUNTY — Use of the term “moochers” by U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Troy, to describe some veterans in the VA system earlier this week fired up those on the political left.
Davidson, a former Army Ranger, spoke with the Concerned Veterans for America on Monday in West Chester Twp. about the issues facing veterans, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs took up a good portion of the discussion.
During the event, Davidson said, “Just like workers comp out here’s got moochers, I wish that there were no vets that were the same sort of problem on our society. But part of the problem is there are some vets that are moochers and they’re clogging up the system. And we do as taxpayers want to make sure the VA filters out these folks that are pretenders. Just like we wish there were no people out there with stolen valor, but that’s a problem in the vet community too.”
Democratic Party leaders were quick to jump on the “moochers” statement.
“This is an outrageous statement by Congressman Davidson, and I would like to know just how he intends to decide which veterans are worthy of health care and which ones are ‘moochers,’” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper.
Butler County Democratic Party Executive Chairwoman Jocelyn Bucaro said Republicans “need to realize that just as refugees aren’t Skittles, veterans aren’t moochers for wanting the care they’re entitled to from the VA.”
Bucaro was referring to a Tweet made by Donald Trump Jr., son of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, that compared Syrian refugees to Skittles.
“This image says it all,” the younger Trump wrote under a graphic that says, “If I had a bowl of skittles [sic] and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful? That’s our Syrian refugee problem.”
Later, Davidson defended his statement to this news outlet.
“I ran on a promise to bring forth bold proposals to fix the Department of Veterans Affairs,” he said. “As a veteran, I know the sub par care that many of my brothers and sisters in arms have received and I will not be content until that is changed. Any effort to suggest I have anything other than a soldier’s passion for providing our veterans with the care they deserve is dishonest.”
Davidson introduced a bill earlier this month that would require members of Congress and their staff to receive health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs, saying it would push Congress to improve VA health care.
In a previous interview with this news outlet, he said he hoped Congress would be “willing to lead by example” in taking on VA health care.