GOP Lawmakers Call For VA To Remove Pride Flag Saying Vets Deserve An “Apolitical” Experience
Tampa Free Press – President Joe Biden showed his colors on Saturday, hoisting the Pride flag from the White House and tweeting that “your house sends a clear message to the country and to the world. America is a nation of pride.”
But Rep. Greg Steube and other Republicans believed that is the wrong message for military veterans and sought to force Biden to pull down the Pride flag from above facilities managed by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
In an email to constituents on Sunday, Steube explained why he had joined more than 30 of his Republican colleagues in “demanding accountability since these flags clearly violate the VA’s own policy!”
“Our veterans were required to be apolitical when they served. We should strive to provide them with an apolitical experience at the VA as well,” he said.
Last week, the Sarasota Republican and at least 30 other GOP lawmakers sent a letter to VA Secretary Denis McDonough urging the removal of the Pride flag because it is a “political symbol” that shouldn’t share space with or replace the Stars and Stripes, the POW/MIA flag or those of the military branches.
In their letter to McDonough, according to Military.com, Steube and the other lawmakers noted that the VA policy “does not allow flags promoting politics or any particular viewpoint or ideology.”
“Veterans who have served our country deserve to enter a facility that is free from discrimination and political posturing,” they wrote. “These men and women were apolitical when they served our country, and we should strive to provide them with an apolitical VA when they seek the care, benefits, and services that they have earned.”
The lawmakers added, “I am sure you would agree with us that the Pride flag is viewed by many, including numerous veterans our offices have engaged with, as a political symbol reflective of a social movement and represents only one group of Americans.”
House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Mike Bost, an Illinois Republican, noted that the Pride flag had replaced American flags at VA facilities in Mississippi, Illinois, and Minnesota.
Steube said in his email that he had learned that also happened in Florida, although he did not identify where.