Eventually, Donald Trump will leave the presidency. When that happens and a full accounting of the damage he inflicted on this country is tallied there will be droves of Republicans scrambling to pretend as if they never supported him. The GOP as a whole will try to go back to pretending that they care about our military, or the national deficit, or family values. After watching them enable this president for four years as he made a grotesque mockery of all of these things, one would have to be an abject fool to buy into their rhetoric.
The Republican Party, barring a massive top-to-bottom realignment of its morals and expelling of its worst actors, is irredeemable. Conservatives like to tell liberals that we are being hyperbolic when we say things like this, that we unfairly demonize them when we point out that their opposition to expanding healthcare coverage to all Americans shows they don’t care if people live or die but once in a while we get irrefutable proof that that is exactly the case.
In a new clip spreading like wildfire across Twitter, a woman named Bev Veals from Carolina Beach, North Carolina contacted a staffer for Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC). Veals, a cancer survivor, was desperate to talk to one of her elected officials about her desperate need for healthcare. WRAL-5 spoke to Veals and she explained that her husband was furloughed due to the COVID-19 economic downturn and she’s in danger of losing her health insurance.
“I wanted answers because the thought of having no healthcare and possibly getting sick with COVID is extremely frightening,” said Veals, explaining her decision to reach out to Tillis’s office. The staffer she ended up on the phone with could not have been any less compassionate or any more condescending. Veals decided to record the call.
“You’re saying that, if you can’t afford it, you don’t get to have it, and that includes healthcare?” asked Veals.
“Yeah. Just like if I want to go to the store and buy a new dress shirt. If I can’t afford that dress shirt, I don’t get to get it,” said the staffer.
“But healthcare is something that people need, especially if they have cancer,” said Veals.
“Well, you got to find a way to get it,” the man responded. When Veals asked the staffer what he thought she should do he responded dismissively: “Sounds like something you’re going to have to figure it out.”
WRAL-5 reached out to Tillis’s office in response to the video and the senator’s spokesman Daniel Keylin attempted some damage control.
“The way Mrs. Veals was talked to by a staff assistant in our Washington office was completely inappropriate and violates the code of conduct Senator Tillis has for his staff, which is why immediate disciplinary action has been taken,” said Keylin.
Understandably, Veals was unimpressed by the milquetoast apology and is demanding that government officials take meaningful action to provide health coverage.
“We need our legislators to listen to us and help us solve this problem because it’s not just my problem – not being able to afford healthcare. It’s the problem of hundreds and thousands of North Carolinians,” said Veals.
The worst part about this incident—beyond the obvious callousness and lack of humanity displayed by the Tillis staffer—is that this view that you only deserve healthcare if you can afford it is not some fringe view within the GOP, it’s one of the central tenets. They may not all be as blunt and cruel as this staffer was, but most of them share his view.
Senator Thom Tillis staffer tells woman with cancer who doesn’t have health care that she’s out of luck.
“Just like if you want to go to the store and buy a new dress shirt, if I can’t afford that dress shirt, I don’t get to get it.” pic.twitter.com/DCZMORFHGl
— Kristen Clarke (@KristenClarkeJD) September 9, 2020
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