I talked to Byrne, VA former dep sec. We talked about what everyone else is talking about but also talked about VA’s opinion of the press. Which should be alarming.
He said @DeptVetAffairs would often make fun of reporters and purposefully be difficult, “they would be cute drafting quotes, split hairs...and be dishonest. It was a game...the media is the evil empire to them.”
We also talked about Wilkie's other aspirations, he openly wanted to be Def Sec, not run VA. "He checked out a long time ago. He was barely engaged. And he wanted to be the Sec Def no doubt about that. No doubt. And that's why he was always trashing Esper."
Byrne described an erratic Wilkie. He thought the Dem staffer's sexual assault at a DC VA was a vast conspiracy from @RepMarkTakano, Pelosi and "the Democrats." This was happening too Wilkie.
Wilkie got what he thought was dirt on the staffer. He wanted Byrne to get it out. This confused him because Byrne doesn't handle media, Wilkie gave no specific instructions.
Byrne on what Wilkie said: "I got you confirmed as my dep. I got you confirmed. And a good deputy protects his secretary, does his dirty work for him. I need you to get this information out."
In short, to Byrne, he was suddenly fired for two reasons. Mainly that Wilkie was going to be fired, and Byrne was going to be the next secretary. And Byrne strained the relationship and was on thin ice for not going along with the conspiracy.
When I asked Byrne why he's choosing now to talk to the press, he said he didn't want to do it right away to not appear like a disgruntled employee and also didn't want to interfere in the election at all.

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More from @StevenBeynon

6 Oct
What if the military automatically gave everyone BAH and stopped incentivizing rushed marriages?
Even with BAH, that puts a private below the average American income anyway - before the old timers say “why does a 19 year old need money? He should marry a stripper in town like we all did.”
And I’ll die on this hill: A lot of retention and mental health issues would be curtailed if the DoD just paid troops an actual wage. Making less money just for being single is insane.
Read 5 tweets
4 Sep
I read Stars and Stripes on a mountain in Afghanistan when I was a 19 year old aspiring journalist. Now I work there. This doesn’t stop the journalism. I’m juggling 3 future news stories today.
Here is some reporting we have done lately.

Women are increasingly taking command of combat arms units - it's becoming the new normal.

Employees claim that racism was ingrained in the VA and recently made worse by leaders who refused to address it. via @nikkiwentling

Read 5 tweets
22 May
My new oped: State orders are a con - Federalizing the Guard should be the only way we do business & how top brass failed to advocate for Guard benefits on Capitol Hill.

The Trump Administration bungled federalizing the Guard - dragging its feet for weeks securing proper pay and benefits for troops. Without being federalized, Guardsmen/women aren’t even protected under employment discrimination laws.

It gets worse when seemingly no one understands how benefits work. A top Guard general in a House hearing on benefits literally told lawmakers she didn’t understand GI Bill eligibility. The clip of that is linked in this oped. I was stunned.

Read 6 tweets
20 May
Been getting a lot of questions over whether or not the Trump administration is screwing over Guard soldiers on GI Bill eligibility with the hard stop date of the corona mission ending June 24. Yes and no. Buckle up because this gets stupid real fast.
There is the Post-9/11 GI Bill and Montgomery GI Bill. Post-9/11 requires 90 days of active duty service. However, units have been activated at a wide-range of dates. The entire Guard wasn't activated at the same time. I'm sure some soldiers would be at 89 days, but a minority.
Generally, all soldiers are entitled to Montgomery straight out of basic. Most are doing that benefit since the wars are winding down and it is hard for Guard soldiers to get active duty time. There is also state tuition assistance most states offer ranging to 50%-100% tuition.
Read 25 tweets

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