Representative Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), the eyepatched veteran who rocketed to national awareness after he was mocked on Saturday Night Live, is a rising star within the authoritarian organization known as the GOP and one need not be a D.C. insider to recognize that he has his eye set on higher office. And while Crenshaw may not be the most obviously repugnant politician in a party teeming with literal white nationalists and cryptofascists, it would be a mistake to presume that he should be anywhere near the levers of power. His support of Trump’s draconian immigration policies alone, including the wasteful and asinine border wall, is proof enough that when it comes down to the material matters of governance Crenshaw is no better than other far-right figures.
Now, an independent watchdog overseeing the Department of Veterans Affairs has released a new report that sheds light on the true nature of Crenshaw’s true character — and it’s far from flattering.
The V.A. Office of Inspector General’s 68-page report shows that Crenshaw seems to have willingly participated in a coordinated effort by V.A. Secretary Robert Wilkie (a Trump appointee) to smear Andrea Goldstein, a female veteran who claimed to have been sexually assaulted at the Veterans Affair Medical Center in Washington. Crenshaw, who was once a Navy SEAL, served in the same unit as Goldstein, making his contributions regarding complaints tendered by Goldstein while on active duty especially valuable to Wilkie’s underhanded efforts.
As reported by Newsweek, the OIG report reveals that three witnesses claim that Wilkie told them that Crenshaw had contributed information on Goldstein that he believed would help make her claims less likely to be believed. The report shows that Crenshaw’s “information” on Goldstein may have been falsified and that the V.A. appears to have grossly mishandled the entire investigatory affair. Wilkie and Crenshaw have both tried to claim that Goldstein’s allegations are in fact a hoax simply because she serves as a staffer for House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano, a Democrat.
According to senior VA officials, Wilkie and associates spoke of the alleged victim “in denigrating terms, openly questioned her credibility, and reportedly ascribed a political motive to her reporting of the incident.” The report also states that they tried to seed damaging stories about Goldstein in the media, representing a truly cruel violation of her right to have her accusations taken seriously and addressed compassionately.
Crenshaw, demonstrating all the moral courage of a Trump Republican, did not respond when Newsweek reached out for comment, an unsurprising choice given how clearly indefensible his actions were. Goldstein’s attorney reflected on Crenshaw’s failure to address the story, stating: “silence says it all.” Wilkie released a statement denying the OIG report’s findings.
Michael Missal, the Inspector General for Veterans Affairs, called the manner in which Wilkie’s department conducted itself “troubling.”
“Scrutinizing the veteran’s background is contrary to V.A.’s stated goal to serve veterans with respect. Every V.A. employee should commit to making V.A. facilities safe and welcoming places where such complaints are met with the highest standards of professionalism and responsiveness,” said Missal.
Crenshaw should be ashamed of himself as should the entire Republican Party. Once again we see that the GOP’s screeching about how they “support the troops” only applies to troops that support their reactionary agenda. They are more than willing to disrespect, smear, and belittle brave veterans when they see it as politically advantageous.
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