Trump-O-Meter

Create private White House veterans hotline

"I will create a private White House hotline – that is answered by a real person 24 hours a day – to make sure that no valid complaint about the VA ever falls through the cracks. I will instruct my staff that if a valid complaint is not acted upon, then the issue be brought directly to me, and I will pick up the phone and fix it myself, if need be."


Create private White House veterans hotline

Donald Trump said he’ll give up time on Twitter to man a veterans’ hotline aimed at ensuring that valid complaints about the Veterans Administration don’t fall through the cracks.

“I will create a private White House hotline. This could keep me very busy at night, folks,” Trump said on  July 26 during the Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention in Charlotte, N.C. “This will take the place of Twitter. A lot of truth to that.”

Trump has repeatedly promised to set up a 24/7 hotline for veterans that would be answered by people. He’s even said he will pick up the phone himself if it comes to it.

This isn’t an entirely new promise, though. During the Republican primary in July 2015, Trump rolled out a similar hotline number (855-VETS-352) and email address (veterans@donaldtrump.com) for veterans to share stories about reform.

If you call the hotline today (Jan. 3, 2017), it bounces directly to a voicemail, which prompts the caller to email veterans@donaldjtrump.com. Other news outlets reported the same outcome as early as last year.

WHY HE’S PROMISING IT

The veterans’ hotline is among Trump’s 10 steps to address the VA’s history of long wait times and wrongdoings.

WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN

Much like Trump’s first attempt at this idea, he will need to create a point of contact for veterans to call. He can revamp the old hotline, and hire 24/7 staff, or start completely over with a new White House line.

Trump has said he will answer the calls if no one else is available to hear the complaint.

COST

We don’t know enough about this promise to attach a concrete cost to this promise, but if Trump’s goal is to have a person, not a computer, answer the phone, then the government will have to pay individuals to man the phone.

WHAT’S STANDING IN HIS WAY

It won’t be hard for Trump to establish a hotline number, but it may be difficult to ensure an actual person is answering the phone.