Del. Dan Helmer

Del. Dan Helmer

When my grandkids ask me about what the Trump era was like, there are so many bizarre moments to live through that it’ll be hard to pick just a few. 

There will be one, though, that I’ll tell them about. It came a few months into his first campaign, when President Donald Trump held an event he said would raise money for veterans. He took the stage, and claimed to have raised $6 million for charities, including $1 million of his own money. There was just one problem: There was no real check, and no money donated. Reporters had to hound him and his campaign before he’d cough up donations, months later.

Now Trump is running for president again, making the same claims that no one’s done more for our troops than him. And when Vice President Mike Pence visits VMI this week, he’ll probably say the same. But behind those boasts are missing checks and broken promises to our nation’s veterans and military families. In fact, he regards those who’ve given their lives for our country as “suckers” and “losers.

As a veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, I’ve seen fellow service members struggle when they get home. Outside of my work as a delegateI help run a small business that advises the government to ensure veterans have access to quality healthcare. As a delegate, I’ve fought to give 100%-disabled veterans a tax break on their vehicles and to ensure that servicemembers can participate in selecting their parties’ nominee. Our country’s veterans deserve a commander in chief who values their service and will look out for them. 

Our men and women in uniform don’t think of themselves as heroes. They signed up to do the job of keeping our country safe – a dangerous job and a vitally important one. And like any job, they want a good boss: one who keeps promises and respects the people below them. 

Donald Trump hasn’t been a good boss for our service members and veterans. His administration has stolen funds from our military to pay for his pet projects. We knew that if Trump tried to build a wall, Mexico wouldn’t be paying for it. We didn’t expect Trump to divert billions of dollars from counternarcotics and military construction funds to try to build it. The Pentagon warned that doing this would cause “dire outcomes” that would put troops’ lives at risk, but he plowed ahead.

He’s demoralized and degraded our servicemembers, using them as a political prop at the border when they should have been at home with their families and threatening to march them into American cities to “defend” against civilian protesters. And in the midst of a global pandemic, the Veterans Administration is chronically understaffed because Trump has refused to fill key positions. The VA currently faces nearly 50,000 vacancies often in high-need areas such as clinicians who can aid in posttraumatic stress and suicide prevention. At a time when an estimated 17 veterans die by suicide every day, this is a tremendous failure. 

Luckily, there’s a better option. Joe and Jill Biden watched as their son deployed to Iraq. I’m sure they spent sleepless nights sometimes, as my parents did, wondering if he’d return home safely, and sleepless nights when he did, wondering how he’d adjust back to civilian life. It’s why Jill Biden started Joining Forces, a national initiative that helped find jobs for 1.5 million veterans and military spouses and looked after their physical and mental health. It’s why Joe Biden has put out plans for veterans and for military families and ensured that we’ll be a priority, not just a talking point.

Our men and women in uniform will serve our nation no matter who’s president. But when they look at their commander-in-chief, they should see someone who deserves to meet their gaze. We don’t have that now. We will with Joe Biden.

Del. Dan Helmer, a Democrat, represents to 40th District, encompassing portions of Fairfax and Prince William Counties. He is a reserve member of the U.S. Army. Use of his military rank or job titles does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Army or the Department of Defense.

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(9) comments

Mrs. Silence Dogood

We deserve who we voted for. Thank God it was not the Democrats who let the Ambassador and military die in Lybia. You sir are such a democrat. Will anyone younger than I step up and Be an American for a good change?

You are a perfect example and reason NOT to ever vote democrat in any election in America and I am not endorsing a republican with that statement. Elect God fearing Americans and we will have a good America for a bright future. I look to my three home schooled Grandsons for such a time as this.

ed1

"God fearing"? Like Falwell? No. Elect those with empathy and understanding. Trump doesn't have the intelligence for empathy or the smarts to run a business without stiffing everyone and declaring bankruptcy. That is no way to run a country. Add his traitorous behavior towards Putin and the Saudi's and his total failure on Covid.

Kevin Raymond

ed1.........OUTSTANDING COMMENT!!! WE DO NEED BRAINS AND MANAGEMENT SKILLS IN THE OVAL OFFICE!!!

ed1

Only because it contained no other substance except to advocate for home schooling and not voting democrat. If you have something to say that I can debate, I will be happy to debate it. Do you think Trump is God fearing? The only thing he fears at the moment is the law catching up to him for rape, tax evasion and money laundering.

Mrs. Silence Dogood

So the only thing about my comment you pulled away to comment on was to disparage the term "God Fearing" Your comment continues to show Democrats and Liberal thinkers just continue their spiral into total depravity, chaos and lawlessness. Funny, I did not vote for President Trump, but America did elect him president over any democrat challenger and he has been in the position for 4 years and you still crying he is not qualified to be there. For your mental health, I can only hope he is not re-elected. Maybe it is you that should be more God-fearing, instead of Trump fearing.

Bluto

From one veteran to another, thank you for your service and continued support to veterans.

I will agree with you that these are “bizarre moments to live through.” To be honest with you, I no longer recognize this great country that I was fortunate to be born into and serve for two decades.

Along with Liberals / Progressives / Socialists / Democrats / Marxists, I have watched the mainstream media frame issue after issue as a negative for President Trump. If it is good news or cannot be shaped appropriately, it is ignored. Ever since President Trump came down the escalator, we have all suffered through the Russia collusion hoax, impeachment over the Ukraine phone call, attacks on COVID-19 response, the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, the complaining about tweets, the “daily outrage”, and many other events that would be inconsequential if it were anyone other than President Trump was in office.

What has been gained by this? Will the Democrats now get their turn at the spoils if elected? What has this done to improve the conditions of citizens?

People are tired of the nonstop bitching and whining; people want to have a positive attitude about their country and look forward to a bright future. This is the message I came away with from the Republican Convention.

Instead of towing the “party” line, we don’t you have an independent thought and focus on doing the right things for OUR community instead of complaining about the man in the White House.

Besides, Biden will never be elected with the Democratic support of attacking/defunding the police, supporting rioters, releasing prisoners from jail early, relaxing bail requirements, political correctness gone amuck, gender confusion, unrealistic environmental policies, attacks on religion and gun rights, and quest to pit groups against each other.

Finally, this is not “Trump’s America”; this is “Our America!”

Keep it great!

Omarndc72

This article is fake. If you think biden is any better your nuts. Biden has been in government for 40 years and has accomplished nothing.

Kevin Raymond

How do you know of his accomplishments. He served on Judiciary and Foreign Affairs...Unlike Wimp McConnell, Joe analyzed issues and voted on them. He worked in the midst of key issues for 40 years......did it courageously...YOU Omar, likely dont understand all of this!!!

weouchere

Kevin - you are the one with the lack of understanding, Biden has done very little in his political career and most of what he voted for he is now against. Plus the bigger problem is that if he wins is his VP pick - unacceptable.

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