Sen. Jon Tester (D., Mont.) insisted despite the current VA scandals the department overall is doing a “pretty darn good job” Wednesday on MSNBC. Tester added he does not believe VA Secretary Eric Shinseki should resign.
Host Joe Scarborough reacted incredulously, telling Tester he talks to veterans all the time who would take strong exception to the notion the VA is doing a “pretty good job.”
“I couldn’t disagree with you more,” Tester said.
The senator indicated he believes vets “truly appreciate the VA” based on his anecdotal experiences in Montana.
However, Tester then suggested much of outrage over the current scandal is unwarranted, stating “it’s in vogue to politicize everything going on with the VA.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders (D., Vt.) made a similar implication last Friday, telling a Massachusetts forum the Koch brothers are behind an effort to “undermine the VA.”
These comments led Scarborough to explode in anger. “I talk to veterans all the time that wonder why Shinseki should still be there. They are killing vets in Phoenix, they are cooking the books.”
Tester’s comments are particularly disturbing as whistleblowers say officials have been “cooking the cooks” and destroying evidence at a Phoenix Veterans Affairs hospital where at least 40 patients died from delays.