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VA Secretary Robert Wilkie Didn't Disclose Pro-Confederate Associations on Confirmation Paperwork
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=49893"><span class="small">Andrew Kaczynski, CNN</span></a>   
Saturday, 05 January 2019 09:19

Kaczynski writes: "Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie did not disclose his associations with Confederate groups on a questionnaire submitted to the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee prior to his confirmation hearing last year, according to a copy of the form obtained by CNN's KFile."

Robert Wilkie testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee. (photo: Chip Somodevila/Getty Images)
Robert Wilkie testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee. (photo: Chip Somodevila/Getty Images)


VA Secretary Robert Wilkie Didn't Disclose Pro-Confederate Associations on Confirmation Paperwork

By Andrew Kaczynski, CNN

05 January 19

 

eterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie did not disclose his associations with Confederate groups on a questionnaire submitted to the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee prior to his confirmation hearing last year, according to a copy of the form obtained by CNN's KFile.

CNN's KFile reported in December that Wilkie, who was confirmed by the Senate as VA secretary in July 2018, gave a speech to a chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in 2009 and, in 1995, praised Confederate President Jefferson Davis in a speech at the US Capitol. Wilkie was also at one point a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, The Washington Post previously reported.

Wilkie was required to disclose in a sworn statement submitted to the Senate committee his public statements, published materials and memberships he held in organizations over the past decade. Wilkie, however, did not disclose any of his ties to Confederate groups. Wilkie signed the questionnaire affirming that the information provided is "to the best of his/her knowledge and belief, current, accurate, and complete."

Curt Cashour, a spokesperson for Wilkie, did not answer questions as to why the secretary did not list the associations on the questionnaire. Instead, Cashour provided the same statement he had provided for a story published in December.

"Whether the handful of events took place close to a decade ago or 15-20 years ago, Secretary Wilkie gave his best recollection of his participation in them, and emphasized that they were strictly historical in nature, almost all official and bipartisan, and he stopped participating in them once the issue became divisive. He was not aware that the remarks had been published, and, as he stated, he did not keep copies of the remarks," Cashour said.

He continued, "Once again, the broad issue of his participation in the events based on his best recollection was addressed in depth at the Secretary's two Senate confirmation hearings for DoD and VA positions in 2017 and 2018, and Secretary Wilkie underscored that he served proudly on Condoleezza Rice's National Security Council staff. Both committees and the full Senate confirmed him overwhelmingly for the positions."

On the questionnaire, Wilkie was asked to list "all memberships that you have held in professional, social, business, fraternal, scholarly, civic, or charitable organizations in the last ten years."

Wilkie listed past and current membership in organizations such as the Council on Foreign Relations and Jesse Helms Foundation, but did not list his former membership in the Sons of Confederate Veterans. A Pentagon spokesman told The Washington Post in June 2018 that Wilkie no longer counted himself a member of the group. The Sons of Confederate Veterans' magazine, Confederate Veteran, listed Wilkie as a "compatriot" and the current chairman of the Confederate Memorial Committee in its April/March 2010 issue, indicating the group still listed him as a member.

Wilkie attended events honoring the legacy of Robert E. Lee and service of Confederate veterans as recently as 2009.

In a section on public statements, Wilkie was asked for "any speeches or talks delivered by you, including commencement speeches, remarks, lectures, panel discussions, conferences, political speeches, and question-and answer sessions. Include the dates and places where such speeches or talks were given."

Wilkie provided general answers, writing, "Multiple remarks, panel discussions and speeches as a congressional staffer and as Under Secretary of Defense, Personnel & Readiness." He did not give details of any of his specific speeches.

Wilkie delivered two speeches on Robert E. Lee in 2009, one to a branch of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in the DC area and one at Arlington National Cemetery. His speech on Davis took place in the US Capitol in 1995.

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Last Updated on Saturday, 05 January 2019 09:58
 

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+4 # Kootenay Coyote 2019-01-05 16:11
Odd; here I thought the Confederate States of America was a defeated & condemned treasonous organization. No wonder Trump appoints its supporters.
 
 
+2 # Farafalla 2019-01-05 16:36
The Trump administration is full of white supremacists like this one who may or may not see themselves as supporting neo-Confederate s. This one is an egregious case of what is the standard in Trump world. Nasty aggrieved white men bent on revenge for their loss of privilege and soon to be demographic irrelevance.
 
 
0 # NAVYVET 2019-01-05 21:39
Affiliation with NeoConfederates disqualifies Wilkie for work with veterans! As Kootenay also knows, the Confederates started the Civil War and were losers and traitors in 1865. General James Longstreet was the only one who apologized for his activities, using the word "traitor" (then had to move to the North). None of the other Confederate bigwigs, especially those who served in the Confederate military, were free of the treason charge. The most obvious were the deserters from the US army like Robert E. Lee, Longstreet, and nearly all the other Confederate officers. So no one affiliated in ANY way with NeoConfederacy domestic terrorism should be allowed to interfere in the VA, which is supposed to provide services including healthcare to all US military veterans. I am a Vietnam veteran who has used the VA for home purchases and graduate school, and I despise the entire NeoCon cadre who have allowed the VA to go almost into ruin.

Not only have these bozos harmed the VA, they have also destroyed the meaning of "conservative" (careful, prudent) and the closely linked word "conservation". They are radical extremists, not conservative at all! Calling themselves New Conservatives HAS ALWAYS BEEN A SMOKESCREEN. The NeoCons began as white supremacist terrorist NeoCONFEDERATES and still slavishly follow that ideology. Our ancestors were much too lenient with the surrendered South in 1865. This time I hope the terrorists go to prison for life without parole.