An open letter to Arnold Mooney on his response to Tommy Tuberville’s veterans healthcare comments

Photo provided by Arnold Mooney for US Senate

The Arnold Mooney campaign for U.S. Senate sent out a statement yesterday calling for Tommy Tuberville to apologize to Donald Trump for the comments he made about veterans’ healthcare. The comments were first reported by Yellowhammer News. Here are the statements made by each candidate, followed by my personal response to Mooney:

Tommy Tuberville’s original comments: 

“I’m pissed off at Donald Trump that our vets can’t get health care,” he [Tuberville] said. “And if I ever get to see him, I’m going to tell him that. You said you were going to fix it and it ain’t fixed. And that’s who we ought to be taking care of — these young men and women. I’ve had them come up to me and cry. ‘Coach, we can’t get health care. Nobody will take care of us.’ 22 vets every day – every day are committing suicide. We can’t take care of them. We won’t take care of them. We’re paying for illegals to come over here – everything they’re getting: cell phones, health care, everything they want. That’s Donald Trump’s fault. That’s his fault.” 

Rep. Mooney’s response:

“Coach Tuberville is a good man, but he’s dead wrong about President Trump. Nobody loves our veterans more or has done more for them in a short time than President Trump. Blaming President Trump for veterans’ suicides is wrong. Coach Tuberville owes our President an apology.

These comments are a gift to the Democrats: President Trump has the courage to attack a problem that’s existed for decades and has been ignored by previous presidents, and he needs our support, not attacks from Republicans who should have his back.”

My response: Dear Arnold Mooney, 

With all due respect sir, give me a break! Seriously? I get it. Alabama is Trump Country and you’re in the fight of your life to prove you’re the biggest Trump supporter there is in the crowded primary; an especially challenging task given your previous record of not supporting his presidency even after he won the primary.

They say an elephant never forgets, and yes, some of us conversative voters in fact remember the lukewarm response you gave after Trump was the nominee, where you refused to say outright that voters should vote for Trump. The Daily Beast quoted you saying, “The chairman for Cruz’s Alabama delegates, Arnold Mooney, said that he was ‘disappointed’ at the senator’s defeat in the primaries. Mooney said that Republicans should unite behind their nominee, but he acknowledged the lingering discord.”

“There are many people who are disturbed and upset,” Mooney told The Daily Beast. “I hope and pray that God will put in their heart to vote for, among those two or three people on the ballot in November, for that person who will do the best job for our nation.”

Of course, you remember that quote too.

I’m betting that’s why you’re all Trump love all the time now. From the POTUS to Donald Trump Jr. you’re heart is full of love for the family. We get it. Don’t worry, a lot of us were skeptical of Trump during 2016. We feel like it’s safe to say you’ve moved past that. It doesn’t hurt that you’ve got the support of some big Trump advocates from the national front. The endorsement from Mark Levin was a good start, even if he does technically work for, or with, your son. Nevertheless, the message has gotten out that you, my friend, are Team Trump.

Can we now move beyond the obnoxious cheerleading for Trump for the remainder of your campaign? Can you promise to never again send out a press release/fundraising email/tweet on his amazingness? It has been just painful to read all of your communications, particularly given the missed opportunity to speak with more substance about actual solutions.  

What voters would love to see, rather than your insincere push for an empty apology from Tuberville, is for you to address his actual points with substance. He was speaking to the seriousness of veterans’ healthcare and the mental health crisis facing our returning troops. He was speaking to money wasted in other areas of the government.

Let’s be clear, he has every right to be “pissed off” at Trump. The bigger question is why aren’t you on this point? If you think Trump is doing all he can and giving vets the attention and resources they deserve then you’re not paying attention.

We should be mad at every leader who could influence and affect the VA, while this crisis continues day in and day out. And yes, you can still love a leader while not loving the way they prioritize problems or their own time and resources. Trump has yet to  make providing for our vets the same level of priority that he has other issues. 

Trump has made some progress with veterans’ healthcare by allowing veterans to go out of the system to receive private healthcare, but no he has not solved the crisis and no we should not act as though he has. To pretend Trump’s “love of vets” solves the problems that they’re facing does a disservice to the many people who are still underserved by the Veterans Administration.

I have nothing but respect for elected officials who aren’t afraid to stand up to leadership. That’s what we need in both the federal and state legislative branches. Will you be able to do that? If so, show it. 

If you have questions about the true nature of the VA and the care our veterans are getting may I recommend you call Congresswoman Martha Roby. She’s been one of the state’s biggest advocates for our veterans. In February of this year, she invited the VA Secretary to the state to see the challenges our veterans were facing. The challenges that Tuberville so clearly acknowledged. Maybe you should take her up on the chance for a tour too. 

Let’s put this ugly “I love Trump more” to bed early in this campaign and stick to issues and solutions moving forward, can we, please? For the voters’ and the vetrans’ sake.

Apryl Marie