Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement after voting against Robert Wilkie’s confirmation to be Secretary of Veterans Affairs:
“The VA Secretary is responsible for providing benefits to millions of veterans and overseeing the nation’s largest health care system. The new secretary must be someone who will respect and support veterans of all different backgrounds, protecting them against attempts to weaken or deny the care and benefits they’ve earned.
“During his long career, Robert Wilkie has defended many controversial policies and elected officials. He supported Senator Helms’ discriminatory campaign tactics, defended the Confederate flag and backed the military’s transgender ban. His history offers no assurance that he would stand up to a president who holds dangerous and uninformed views about minorities, women and the LGBT community.
“The VA needs a leader who will fight for all veterans and push back against attempts to privatize care. I’m not confident Robert Wilkie is capable of being that leader, and therefore I cannot support his nomination.”