- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 26, 2018

Hosting wounded warriors at the White House, President Trump vowed Thursday to continue making improvements to the Department of Veteran Affairs.

“Our pledge to you, our noble warriors, is that my administration will support you and your loved ones every single day,” he said at a kick-off event for the Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride, a four-day adaptive cycling ride for wounded veterans.

“We will forever be grateful for the sacrifice you made for us,” the president told more than two dozen wounded veterans at the event.

The Soldier Ride reception at the White House came the same day the president’s physician Navy Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson withdrew his nomination for VA chief after an onslaught of allegations of inappropriate behavior.

Mr. Trump gave a shout out to acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie, whose name was added to the guest list at the last moment.

The president recognized Mr. Wilkie in the crowd and said he was “doing a great job over at the VA, I can tell you that.”

The Soldier Ride has been hosted annually at the White House since President George W. Bush began the tradition in 2008.

Mr. Trump touted a law he signed that made it easier to fire VA employees for bad job performance.

Job protections for VA employees because an issue when the department came under fire during the Obama administration of veterans dying while stuck on secret wait lists.

“We have to make sure this kind of tragedy never happens again,” said Mr. Trump.

He also promised to push through laws creating a VA choice program that would allow veterans to seek medical care at non-VA facilities. The plan has run into opposition from Democrats in Congress.

“We’re going to have the finest choice program you’ve ever seen,” said the president.

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