Then President-elect Donald Trump meets with Ike Perlmutter, chairman of Marvel Entertainment, center, and Reince Priebus at Mar-a-Lago in December 2016. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Bonnie Watson Coleman just sent out an email with a heads-up about some news ProPublica broke a few days ago, that Trump has consigned our country’s veterans policies to 3 wealthy friends of his – Ike Perlmutter, Bruce Moskowitz, Marc Sherman – who have absolutely no relevant credentials, no government background or U.S. military service. Is this “official”? Nope. Any transparency? Accountability? Oversight? Nope. Nope. Nope.
What does it take to get free reign over a federal agency these days? Apparently all you gotta do is be a member of Trump’s fancypants Mar-a-Lago club, which all three are. Search your pockets. Got $200k?
Who are these guys running policy towards America’s 20 million veterans, 400,000 of whom are in New Jersey? Start with the guy who seems to be the chief; Ike Perlmutter, a longtime Trump acquaintance.. “On any veterans issue, the first person the president calls is Ike,” says a former VA official. Perlmutter’s the Israeli-American master of the universe who is chair (and former CEO) of Marvel Entertainment, run as a division of Disney. He’s not CEO anymore, because he’s got some judgement issues. Like this: When Perlmutter replaced actor Terrence Howard in the Iron Man franchise with Don Cheadle, he (allegedly) told Andy Mooney, a Disney exec, that no one would notice … because black people “look the same.” Mooney left, over issues with Perlmutter, followed by 3 female lieutenants who hired a lawyer to seek settlements from the company, and another woman exec who filed an internal complaint against Perlmutter, accusing him of making threatening remarks to her.
The other two Mar-a-Lago insiders are Palm Beach physician Bruce Moskowitz and attorney Marc Sherman. This triumvirate is collectively known at the VA as ‘the Mar-a-Lago crowd’. They’ve prodded the staff to start new programs, and officials have been flown down to Florida at taxpayers’ expense to hear from them. “Everyone has to go down and kiss the ring,” a former administration official told ProPublica. And VA staff at odds with the ‘Mar-a-Lago’ crowd get “pushed out or passed over.”
Rep. Watson Coleman is collecting people who take issue with all this, to call on the (Republican) chair at House Oversight to “do your job and hold Trump accountable.” Not much chance of that.