U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly ended a press conference on Saturday after facing a question about why he has repeatedly claimed credit for a major bill helping former military members access healthcare that was actually passed by Barack Obama in 2014.
The president held a press conference on Saturday from his company’s golf resort in New Jersey, where he has spent the last several days. While announcing an executive order issuing some relief measures for Americans hurt by the coronavirus, which reporters noted was an unusual precedent that appeared to go around Congress and is expected to face legal challenges, the president also claimed credit for passing the Veterans Choice program.
Trump begins his August 8 Bedminster news conference with some casual xenophobia, and takes credit for Veterans Choice legislation that was actually signed into law by President Obama in 2014 pic.twitter.com/NPjNdhDHQ2
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 8, 2020
Yesterday, Trump took credit for the ACA, passed by Obama.
Today, Trump is taking credit for veterans choice, also passed by Obama.
For a guy who hates his predecessor so much, Trump sure does love everything Obama accomplished.
— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) August 8, 2020
After the signing, as Trump was taking questions from reporters, he was asked by Paula Reid of CBS News why he continues to claim responsibility for the Obama administration program. Instead of answering, he thanked reporters and walked away from the podium, ending the event.
CBS's @PaulaReidCBS presses Trump for lying about passing Veterans Choice when he did not pass Veterans Choice. Trump leaves his news conference without answering.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) August 8, 2020
As The Inquisitr reported, Trump has frequently said that it was him that signed the measure, which aims to give military vets greater access to health care by paying for doctor visits for those who cannot obtain treatment through a VA hospital.
When Trump repeated this statement back in January, CNN fact-checking correspondent Daniel Dale reported on Twitter that he falsely claimed more than 100 times that he was responsible for the Veterans Choice Act, which was formally known as the Veterans’ Access to Care Through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014.
Trump’s administration has signed legislation that expanded eligibility for the program and made it easier for vets to seek treatment, cutting the waiting period to 20 days. But as The Inquisitr noted, Trump had not pointed to the expansion when making the statement, and he also incorrectly stated that no previous president passed a Veterans Choice initiative.
Many believed that the claim was a matter of pride for Trump, as the original legislation was passed by Obama and crafted heavily by Sen. John McCain, both seen by Trump as political enemies.
As many critics also noted after Saturday’s claim, it was the second time in a matter of days that Trump appeared to try to steal credit for one of the major accomplishments of his predecessor. Earlier in the week, he had floated the idea of issuing an executive order that would mandate all insurance providers to cover pre-existing conditions — which is already a law in the United States thanks to the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.