Biden campaign blasts Trump on military issues in Michigan

Biden campaign blasts Trump on military issues in Michigan

State Rep. Jennifer Conlin (D-Ann Arbor Charter Twp.) discusses President Joe Biden’s efforts to support service members and veterans. (Kyle Davidson/Michigan Advance)

By Michigan Advance

July 10, 2024


MICHIGAN—On the heels of Independence Day, President Joe Biden’s campaign hosted a press conference in Lansing touting his administration’s efforts to support military veterans.

State Rep. Jennifer Conlin (D-Ann Arbor Charter Twp.), chair of the Michigan House Committee on Military, Veterans and Homeland Security, joined former state Sen. and U.S. Army Reserve Cpt. Adam Hollier and Robert Kull, an active-duty Navy veteran and Officer in the Michigan Army National Guard. They highlighted Biden’s record on veteran’s services and employment while blasting Trump-era military policies.

“As the chair of the House Committee on Military, Veterans and Homeland Security, I can tell you all of the progress the Biden-Harris administration has made is at risk if Donald Trump gets back in the White House,” Conlin said, noting Biden had signed into law almost 30 bipartisan bills in support of veterans, including the PACT act, which expands Veterans Affairs health care and benefits to veterans exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange and other toxic substances.

Veteran unemployment has also dropped below 4% under Biden’s administration, Conlin said, with the president also working to help veterans access childcare, affordable housing and jobs.

“We have a president who cares about protecting our veterans rights and freedoms from expanding reproductive services and cracking down on financial fraud to supporting LGBTQ+ veterans by ending Trump’s ban on transgender service members in the military,” Conlin said, blasting the former president for previously proposing cuts to veterans programs and benefits.

Kull emphasized the impact of the PACT act on veterans exposed to burn pits.

“Exposure to Toxic burn pits is one of the most critical healthcare challenges that my generation of veterans are facing, but it’s also one of the least talked about. It was President Biden who signed the PACT Act into law, which was the most significant expansion of health care benefits for toxic exposures for veterans in over three decades,” Kull said.

“Before President Biden’s leadership. We were denying 70% of Veterans Disability Claims — including my own — that involved burn pit exposure,” Kull said, noting that more than 1 million PACT Act related claims have been granted since the law was implemented, including more than 21,000 in Michigan. 

Hollier and Kull both criticized Trump for comments in which the former president reportedly called fallen soldiers “suckers” and “losers.” While Trump and his campaign have repeatedly denied that he made these remarks, Trump’s former Chief of Staff John Kelly later confirmed the president had privately disparaged service members, as reported by the Atlantic in 2020.

During the June 27 presidential debate, Biden blasted Trump on the comments, which were reportedly made when Trump canceled a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, a World War I Cemetery in Belleau, France.

“My son was not a loser or sucker. You’re the sucker, you’re the loser,” Biden said, in reference to his son, Beau, an Iraq War veteran who died of brain cancer.

However, the former president’s debate performance has been a source of anxiety for Democrats with a growing number of leaders asking the president to withdraw from the race.

When asked about the president’s performance, Hollier stressed Biden’s record over his ability to debate.

“I look at the veterans’ care. It has changed fundamentally. I did the public service student loan repayment thing. And so when my 10 years was up, I was like, ‘All right! Filing for my student loan repayment.’ And you know what they said to me, they said, ‘You’ve made three qualifying payments.’ And I was like, ‘b=But I’ve been paying consistently for the past decade,’” Hollier said.

“Under a Biden presidency, they went back and fixed that program for myself and thousands of other service members to ensure that that debt that was supposed to be gone, was gone,” Hollier said.

Looking forward, Kull noted the Biden administration was looking at raising pay for lower-enlisted ranks, increasing housing allowances for veterans, and hiring more veterans affairs claims officers to review claims more quickly and address the backlog of claims and appeals.

READ MORE: Slotkin wants Michiganders to help decide how the government spends money on the military

This coverage was republished from Michigan Advance pursuant to a Creative Commons license. 


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