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Saturday, July 21, 2018
Tell Congress: Veterans deserve better than Robert Wilkie for Dept. for Veterans Affairs
Petition to the U.S. Senate: "Block and resist Robert Wilkie's nomination to serve as Secretary of Veterans Affairs. His racist and anti-LGBTQ history and record of defending hateful individuals and institutions is unbefitting of the office."
Add your name:
The brains behind Trump's transgender ban is poised to take over the Department of Veterans Affairs – and that's not the only disqualifying mark on his record.1
Robert Wilkie also proudly defended racists like Jesse Helms and Trent Lott and used racial and homophobic smears to attack Democratic candidates. He is a longtime loyalist to the Confederate cause, regularly appearing at events and supporting organizations that push to display the Confederate flag. Wilkie is just one more example of Trump preferring those who lean toward his own racist, bigoted worldview.2
Wilkie's past affiliations and statements are unbefitting of someone who will have to serve veterans regardless of their race, sexual orientation or gender identity. We need to make it clear that Wilkie has no place as VA secretary.
First, Trump fired VA Secretary David Shulkin for opposing the White House's efforts to hand parts of the VA over to Wall Street and for-profit companies. Then, Trump tried to install his unqualified personal doctor, Ronny Jackson, only to see the nomination backfire when Jackson's turbulent history and mismanagement came to light. Now, Trump has nominated Department of Defense official Robert Wilkie, who has his own skeletons in his closet.3 Wilkie:
Proudly defended racists like Jesse Helms and Trent Lott. Wilkie worked for and publicly championed former North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms, who opposed Martin Luther King, Jr. and called LGBTQ Americans “weak, morally sick wretches.” He later defended Trent Lott after the senator praised Strom Thurmond's segregationist campaign for the presidency.4
Has his own racist and homophobic track record. Wilkie once attacked a Democratic senator for having “openly courted money from the homosexual community." As executive director of the North Carolina GOP, he defended a racist ad campaign implying there were enough black members of Congress already. On top of it all, he has led the Trump administration's efforts to impose a cruel transgender ban on the military.5
Crusaded for the confederate cause. Wilkie spent years as a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and would appear routinely at annual memorial ceremonies for the Confederacy. He has supported displaying the Confederate flag and once attacked Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, then the sole Black senator, for opposing an effort to patent a logo that included the Confederate flag.6
The Secretary of Veterans Affairs serves all veterans, not just straight white southerners. Wilkie's track record will make it impossible for many veterans to believe that he has their best interests at heart. We need to make sure senators of both parties don't deliberately overlook Wilkie's track record and instead oppose his nomination.
Tell the Senate: Veterans deserve better than Robert Wilkie. Click below to sign the petition: