US Rep. David Jolly rebuked former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton for downplaying the extent of the Veterans Administration health care scandal on a cable news show.
“Mrs. Clinton’s remarks are a direct affront to every man and woman who has defended our freedom and security,” Jolly said. “Make no mistake, veterans lost their lives because of a VA system fraught with bureaucratic negligence, mismanagement and abuse. Trying to downplay this atrocity is inexcusable and outright insulting.”
Jolly was joined in his criticism by Concerned Veterans for America CEO Pete Hegseth, who said Clinton was “out of touch with reality” and is “more interested in defending the status quo and entrenched special interests than in actually advocating for the reforms veterans want.”
The remarks aired during Clinton’s Friday appearance on the Rachel Maddow Show. During her interview on the MSNBC show, Clinton said the VA scandal was “not as widespread as it has been made out to be.”
The VA came under fire in April 2014 when it was reported that 40 veterans had died while waiting for treatment in VA facilities in Phoenix, Arizona. The Secretary for Veteran’s Affairs, Eric Shinseki, resigned from his position a month later amid similar reports from several other VA locations.
By June 2014, an internal audit had found more than 120,000 cases where veterans had not received care from the VA or were bumped from VA waiting lists in order to hit internal targets.
Jolly, the first-term congressman from CD13, introduced the “Veteran’s Health Care Freedom Act” in July, which would allow veterans to choose where they receive medical care. In a Washington Times op-ed printed last week, Jolly called the choice “a right that has been earned through service to country.”
The Pinellas County representative is the GOP frontrunner in a crowded race for the US Senate seat held by Marco Rubio, who is running for president in 2016.