Military Times

Trump and Clinton to speak at the American Legion convention

Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will again present their plans for veterans program reforms during separate appearances at the American Legion's national convention in Cincinnati later this month.

The speeches come a month after both candidates spoke about those plans at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in North Carolina, and amid a host of extra attention on veterans issues in the wake of the Republican and Democratic conventions in July.

Legion officials said Democratic Party standard bearer Clinton will address the convention Aug. 31, while Republican nominee Donald Trump will speak on the convention's final day, Sept. 1.

Both candidates have laid out a broad slate of changes to the Department of Veterans Affairs, and are expected to repeat those goals during the Legion appearances.

Clinton has promised to provide more resources to the department and better accountability procedures for problematic bureaucrats, but has also vowed not to allow conservatives to massively shift veterans health care to physicians outside existing VA systems.

Trump has made that a centerpiece of his plans, saying that the department as constructed is too overburdened to provide adequate care to many veterans. He has also promised more direct involvement in addressing VA problems, including a White House hotline to field veterans' complaints.

But many of those policy discussions have been overshadowed in recent weeks by military-related gaffes by Trump. He has been criticized by opponents for appearing to attack a Gold Star father who spoke at the Democratic convention, and added to the problem by awkwardly bragging about a Purple Heart medal given to him by a veteran supporting his campaign.

Both candidates have also called the other unfit to serve as commander in chief, questioning each other's temperament and honesty.

The Legion convention runs from Aug. 26 to Sept. 1. More information on the event can be found at the group's website.

 

Leo Shane III covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He can be reached at lshane@militarytimes.com.

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