The Veterans of Foreign Wars ripped Sen. Richard Burr, shown here before the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing on “The State of VA Health Care” May 15. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Updated 2:41 p.m. May 25 | The Veterans of Foreign Wars leadership blistered Sen. Richard Burr after the North Carolina Republican penned an open letter late Friday impugning the staff of veterans groups for not calling for new leadership at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
In his letter, Burr, the ranking Republican on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee praised the American Legion, which has called for Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign, and suggested that the leadership staff of other veterans’ groups — without naming them — care more about access to Shinseki than they do about veterans.
“Last week’s hearing made it clear to me that the staff has ignored the constant VA problems expressed by their members and is more interested in their own livelihoods and Washington connections than they are to the needs of their own members,” Burr charged. “I fear that change within the VA will not be possible unless and until these organizations also reconsider their role as well as the nature of their relationship with VA.”
The VFW responded late Saturday with a lengthy missive of its own.
“I will afford you the same amount of respect you demonstrated for the Veterans of Foreign Wars by the monumental cheap-shot and posturing you’ve engaged in by enlisting in an absolutely disgusting ambush style of politics,” the three-page letter began.
“Without the courtesy or benefit of conversation or dialogue with me or the VFW Adjutant General regarding your disagreement with VFW’s recent testimony to your committee, you chose instead to take the low road and question VFW’s motives and levy a pejorative personal attack on VFW staff.
“Senator, this is clearly one of the most dishonorable and grossly inappropriate acts that we’ve witnessed in more than forty years of involvement with the veteran community and breaches the standards of the United States Senate. Your allegations are ugly and mean-spirited in every sense of the words and are profoundly wrong, both logically and morally. Quite frankly Senator, you should be ashamed.” Full story