CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WNCN) – Donald Trump spoke Tuesday to the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention in Charlotte, outlined his 10-point plan to help veterans and spoke against Washington politics.
For the first time, Trump hit the campaign trail with running mate Mike Pence. He was also joined by Gov. Pat McCrory and Sen. Richard Burr.
Both Trump and Pence came in prepared with sharp criticism for the VA and what’s being done to fix it.
“If I’m elected president, you’re going to notice a change in the VA and in the whole entire government system, which is a mess,” Trump said.
Before Trump took the stage, VA Secretary Bob McDonald tried to emphasize what he’s done to improve things since taking over.
“Listening to some people, we’d never know there’s a decent person working at the VA, veteran or otherwise,” McDonald said.
McDonald says the backlog of claims is down almost 90-percent and the average wait time for a completed claim is down 65-percent.
“Some people think everything will be fine if we fire more people more quickly,” McDonald said. “That’s not true.”
Hillary Clinton spoke to the crowd Monday. She pledged to reform the VA without privatizing it, but Trump questioned her effectiveness.
“We know how she takes care of the veterans,” Trump said. “Just look at her invasion of Libya and her handling of Benghazi.”
Veteran John Houlshouer says he was in Vietnam less than a month before being injured. He says the VA is getting better, but too slowly.
“I remember one time at the VA myself, I said you know you could die right here waiting to see somebody,” Houlshouer said. “They just looked at me and didn’t say anything.”
Others were skeptical about Trump making good on his promises.
“The other side is talking quite outlandish and making demands on things that are not going to be,” John Giannini said.
Trump also talked about plans to reduce the number of veterans who are unemployed.
Gov. Pence highlighted how Indiana has the second lowest unemployment rate among veterans in the United States.