Will Trump Insult Veterans by Sending Sarah Palin to the VA?

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Just when we were all beginning finally to forget about her.Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

After lulling the political world into a sense of complacency with a series of Cabinet and other high-level appointments mostly composed of unimaginative conservative ideologues and plutocrats, is it possible Team Trump is about to spring something on us that ranks up there with Stephen Bannon in the White House? It’s possible, per this report from ABC:

Yeah, Palin’s name came up vaguely from time to time in early lists of people who might gain office in a Trump administration. But it’s not like she’s been on some must-appoint list based on her service to the cause, given her invisibility in the mogul’s campaign after her strange endorsement speech in Iowa back in January. She famously did not even appear at the Republican National Convention, and Trump famously gave a flip, dismissive answer to questions about it, suggesting Palin’s Alaska was too far away from Cleveland.

More to the point, Palin has no obvious qualifications for the Veterans Affairs job. If appointed and confirmed, she would be the first non-veteran to head VA. Yes, she is the mother of a veteran: Her son Track did a tour of duty in Iraq. But it’s unlikely that would be cited very often as a credential, since Track has had a troubled life since returning to Alaska; indeed, he was arrested on assault and possession of firearms while intoxicated charges subsequent to an alleged domestic-violence incident the very day his mom went to Iowa to endorse Trump.

Perhaps this would not matter to Team Trump, but since she would at VA supervise a large and complicated health-care system, it is probably worth noting that her principal career contribution to health-care policy was the heinous “death panels” lie about the Affordable Care Act. As for her administrative capacities and stamina for hard work (an important criterion to Trump, we know, given his constant expressions of concern for Hillary Clinton’s fitness for the presidency), it is hard to forget her abrupt resignation as governor of Alaska just over halfway through her one term in office.

Such concerns might be no more than problematic for many jobs in the Trump administration. But you’d think they’d be deal-killers at VA, given the very high priority Trump himself has so often placed on giving vets the best possible treatment (in both the medical and general sense). I’d say consigning the nation’s former service members and their families to the perpetual sideshow sure to be generated by La Pasionaria of the Permafrost would be a broken promise of the highest order.