US military soldiers march during the Veterans Day Parade in New York on November 11, 2014. Veterans day is celebrated across the country to honor those who...
JEWEL SAMAD

Trump admin has a funny way of showing its support for veterans

Updated

At a recent campaign rally in Ohio, Donald Trump didn’t just condemn Democratic lawmakers, the president took some time to list some of the American entities he thinks Democrats don’t like.

“They’re lousy politicians, they have horrible, stupid policies,” Trump said. “You know, ‘let’s get rid of law enforcement, let’s get rid of our military, let’s not take care of our vets’ – all of these things.”

To the extent that reality still matters, the president’s rhetoric was mindless, but given the Trump administration’s approach toward supporting veterans, it was also rather ironic. The New York Times  reported over the weekend:

The Trump administration is planning to suspend routine examinations of lenders for violations of the Military Lending Act, which was devised to protect military service members and their families from financial fraud, predatory loans and credit card gouging, according to internal agency documents.

Mick Mulvaney, the interim director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, intends to scrap the use of so-called supervisory examinations of lenders, arguing that such proactive oversight is not explicitly laid out in the legislation, the main consumer measure protecting active-duty service members, according to a two-page draft of the change.

According to the Times, advocates for military families were “surprised” by the Trump administration’s proposal, not only because they hoped to see the opposite when it comes to protecting veterans’ finances, but also because no one from the financial industry challenged the legality of these lender examinations when the Obama administration took action to protect servicemembers in recent years.

In other words, Mulvaney is so eager to protect lenders, he’s apparently taking steps to fix a “problem” that no one thought existed.

The Times added, “The bureau will still bring individual cases against lenders who are found to charge in excess of the annual interest rate cap of 36 percent mandated under the law, and continue to supervise lenders under other statutes. But it will scrap supervisory examinations, which are the most powerful tool for proactively uncovering abuses and patterns of illegal practices by companies suspected of wrongdoing, former consumer bureau enforcement officials said.”

This comes on the heels of a variety of other Trump-related troubles with veterans issues, including revelations that the president effectively handed authority over many VA decisions to a trio of unqualified Mar-a-Lago members.

Finally, those who followed the 2016 race closely may recall then-candidate Trump discussing the creation of a “private White House hotline” veterans would be able to call for assistance. “I will instruct my staff that if a valid complaint is not addressed that the issue be brought directly to me, and I will pick up the phone and fix it myself if I have to,” Trump said in July 2016.

The Washington Post  reported two weeks ago on the customer-service reps who work at a new call center for veterans – and the degree to which they don’t appear to be doing much.

What was that the president was saying about Democrats not wanting to take proper care of veterans?