“Comrade AOC knows nothing about the VA. Defends system failing vets every single day.”
President Donald Trump broke with many Republicans Wednesday by agreeing with heavily criticized remarks made recently by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., about the efficacy of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
There was, however, a caveat to the president’s assertions.
“Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is correct, the VA is not broken, it is doing great,” he tweeted. “But that is only because of the Trump Administration. We got Veterans Choice & Accountability passed.”
WATCH: MSNBC Hosts Put up Framed Mueller Photo in Their House
Ocasio-Cortez was lambasted by conservatives on social media Monday after video emerged of the progressive Democrat urging against the reform of the VA health system and calling it “this thing that provides the highest quality care to our veterans.”
“[T]here’s some things that we’re hearing today, there’s some themes we’ve got coming out, and especially when it comes to the VA, all I can think of is that classic refrain that my parents always told me growing up,” Ocasio-Cortez said during a town hall event in New York City last week.
“Which is that, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’”
In the fallout of Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks, Fox & Friends weekend co-host and Iraq War veteran Pete Hegseth blasted the progressive lawmaker, averring that the VA continues to fail those it serves.
WATCH: Kamala Harris ‘Misgenders’ Trans Women During CNN Townhall
“Comrade AOC knows nothing about the VA. Defends system failing vets every single day,” Hegseth said. “Just another hack politician echoing what the government unions want her to say. The ‘woman of the people’ should try VA healthcare. But she won’t, because she’s a fraud.”
Trump now praises AOC over the VA after Fox News @PeteHegseth called her an idiot for saying the VA was great – I dare Pete to say Trump is an idiot too? he won'r because he would be fired from Fox News. How embarrassing for Pete!
— (((DeanObeidallah))) (@DeanObeidallah) April 24, 2019
Some commenters replied to Trump’s tweet by wondering whether supporters who had slammed Ocasio-Cortez would be as harsh on the president. Some veterans argued that the VA is still experiencing problems, pointing to the suicide deaths outside VA facilities that occurred just this week.
Others decided to avoid the topic at hand, and, depending on their ideological leanings, bashed either Trump or Ocasio-Cortez.
I wonder if he will next agree with @AOC on climate change!?! GREEN NEW DEAL!
— Brian Krassenstein (@krassenstein) April 24, 2019
Still, many veterans have praised Trump’s efforts to fulfill his campaign pledge to reform the VA and hold the government responsible for veterans’ healthcare.
In 2017, Trump signed into law a bill that allows VA leadership more autonomy to hold failed employees accountable and protect whistleblowers.
Robert L. Wilkie, secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, wrote in a 2018 USA Today op-ed that not “since President Lincoln has another president done more to ‘care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan,’ just as our nation deserves.”
The Washington Examiner editorial board wrote earlier this year that Trump’s efforts meant helpful improvements were “on the way at Veterans Affairs,” accusing the Obama administration of having resisted reforms to the agency.
WATCH: Meet the AOC ‘Mini-Me’ Taking the World by Storm