Government

Trump Recognizes Veterans at Event in Struthers

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STRUTHERS, Ohio – President Donald J. Trump thanked military veterans for their service during a brief speech Tuesday evening at Amvets Post 44 here, singling out for recognition one veteran, Robert M. Bishop.

It was the first stop for the president – and the first time a sitting president has ever visited this former steel town – before addressing a campaign rally at the Covelli Centre in downtown Youngstown.

Bishop was a gunner on the U.S.S. Tennessee on Dec. 7, 1941, when Japanese bombers struck his ship. He is a resident of Ohio who served in the U.S. Navy Reserve and earned his living as a steelworker.

Trump noted, with self-deprecating humor, that Bishop and his wife Doris, “this year celebrated – and you’re going to have to explain to me – their 74th wedding anniversary. He’s been back to Pearl Harbor eight times to pay tribute to his comrades,” Trump continued. “And the great wish of Bob and his friends is that he will attend the 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor on the eve of his 101st birthday.”

The president collectively praised the 150 or so veterans invited to the event as part of the White House’s week-long “Salute to American Heroes.” And he recognized the post’s commander, Jan Brown, and her husband, John P. Brown III, who supported the president from the very start of his campaign, he said.

“To every veteran here this evening,” he said, “your courage is the strength of our nation and your patriotism is the beating heart of our shared destiny.”

He was accompanied by his wife Melania and three members of his cabinet. Energy Secretary Rick Perry introduced David J. Shulkin, the secretary of Veterans Affairs, who said the Trump Administration is responsible for the “largest transformation in the history of the V.A. Not only is the V.A. “more transparent than ever, everyone can see we’re holding people accountable,” Shulkin said.

Shulkin went on to say the V.A. is opening new facilities at three sites in the region “and last week we began advertising for a 30,000-square-foot outpatient center right here in Youngstown.”

The V.A. secretary then introduced Trump,who began his remarks by hailing the passage, under his watch, of the V.A. Accountability Bill which means “people are accountable for taking care of our vets.” He listed other reforms instituted during the first six months of his administration such as “seamlessly transparent veterans medical records,” same-day mental health treatment and publishing wait times.

“No longer will veterans stand in line for days and days and days and wait for a simple solution … People who could have been given a prescription right away ended up dying,” he said.

Although the president read much of his speech, he did offer political asides that his supporters have come to expect.

“It’s great to be back in Youngstown,” he said. “You know the numbers and you saw for many, many years. … Democrats win in Youngstown, but not this time.”

In fact, Hillary Clinton carried the city of Youngstown overwhelmingly and narrowly won Mahoning County. No matter, the crowd cheered — they know full well that Trump got more votes in the county, particularly in Struthers —  than any Republican since Ronald Reagan.

Pictured: President Donald Trump speaks to veterans at Amvets Post 44 in Struthers.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.