In his speech Wednesday before veterans at the AMVETS National Convention in Louisville, President Donald Trump was on his best behavior — for the most part.
The highlight was his signing on stage at the Galt House a presidential order waiving student loan debt for 25,000 of America’s most seriously disabled veterans.
He also touted his administration’s work to reduce veterans’ suicide rates, and mentioned a new drug, delivered by inhaler and made by Johnson & Johnson, that has shown promising results toward easing anxiety.
The President also claimed that the Veterans Administration has cut opioid prescriptions by 30 percent, reduced wait times at VA medical facilities, and increased patients’ trust by 92 percent.
All of that is welcome news to veterans whose care hasn’t been commensurate with their sacrifice.
We applaud President Trump for his administration’s work on behalf of veterans and we encourage him to continue.
Disappointing, though, was the President’s pondering aloud if he could bestow a Presidential Medal of Freedom on himself, then dismissing the notion by saying, “they told me that wouldn’t be a good idea.”
Maybe he was kidding, maybe he wasn’t. One thing’s for sure — he was speaking to a group of heroes who earned their medals. Maybe it was a joke he should have left in the desk drawer.
Disheartening, too, was when the President couldn’t resist taking yet another swipe at the media, something he does in nearly every speech, no matter the audience.
He told veterans and their guests that “I’m not hearing bad stories” related to the VA, “but the fake news” — at this point he swept his arm indicating media in the back of the room — “will go out and they’ll find somebody.”
Mr. President, we came to cover your speech in good faith. If you want to Make (or Keep) America Great Again, you must stop denigrating people, including hard-working journalists.
Sisters of Providence recently joined other orders of Catholic Sisters in sending you a letter imploring you to “end all divisive language.” They’re praying you have the fortitude to do so.
So are we, Mr. President, so are we.
— The News and Tribune Editorial Board members are Publisher Bill Hanson, Editor Susan Duncan, and Assistant Editors Chris Morris and Jason Thomas.