Donald Trump’s nominees for various positions in his administration have never ceased to amaze us with their wacky beliefs or with just how unqualified a candidate they could be. However, one nominee, who was nominated for assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, actually seemed tolerable.
He seemed tolerable due to comments he made during his confirmation hearing days after the Texas mass shooting that saw the deaths of almost an entire congregation of people in a small church. What was so shocking and disturbing about that shooting was how easily the gun was obtained by the shooter, who was convicted of domestic violence and should have raised flags in the background check system. It showed just how woefully inadequate current gun restriction laws are.
The nominee for the position, Dean Winslow, saw it the same way apparently. During his hearing with the Senate Armed Services Committee, he was asked about the shooting and didn’t hold back. He said:
‘I’d also like to – and I may get in trouble with other members of the committee – just say, you know, how insane it is that in the United States of America a civilian can go out and buy … a semi-automatic assault rifle like an AR-15, which apparently was the weapon that was used.’
Of course, after the shooting Trump paid homage to his NRA supporters and said the issue was not gun control but mental health problems.
Republicans on the committee also took issue with Winslow’s comment with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) remarking:
‘Dr. Winslow, I don’t think that’s in your area of responsibility or expertise.’
Due to those comments, the committee put Winslow’s appointment on “indefinite hold.” Due to this, Winslow bowed out gracefully to allow the position to be filled as soon as possible. In a Washington Post op-ed, Winslow wrote about his decision.
‘I am sorry not to be able to assist Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, whom I deeply respect, in building the best and most efficient military health-care system possible. I have the credentials to help, including 35 years of experience in the Air Force (including four deployments to Iraq and two to Afghanistan after 9/11), in military and academic medicine, and in private practice, public hospitals, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the pharmaceutical and diagnostics industries, and public health.’
Winslow literally sounds like the perfect guy for the job, which is an important one considering just how badly the VA health care system needs to be reformed. Yet, he was held up indefinitely because of his opinion on guns, an opinion that is widely held by many because it’s basic common sense. If this doesn’t reek of the NRA owning the members of the Senate Armed Service Committee, then you’re fooling yourself.
Winslow commented on the fact he was being considered unqualified because of his unpopular opinion on gun control.
‘But unfortunately, I do not possess one credential the committee wanted to see: I do not support the unrestricted ownership of semiautomatic assault weapons by civilians.’
He explained why he answered the way he did.
‘I heard about it when I got off the plane from England, a country with effective gun control and minimal gun violence. As a devout Christian, a parent, a doctor and an American, I was deeply troubled by yet another loss of innocent lives, this time in the sanctity of a house of worship.
‘At my hearing, jet-lagged and in mourning over those killed … I acknowledged that the Air Force dropped the ball and recommended an inspector general’s investigation focusing on systems failures that contributed to the tragedy.
‘Then, I blurted out what was in my heart …’
He blurted out what’s been in the hearts of Americans nationwide after every mass shooting that claims innocent victims. What’s ironic is he supports the use of AR-15s for fun at licensed gun ranges. He wrote, though, he has seen firsthand the damage an AR-15 can cause.
‘… I have seen what these weapons do to human beings. The injuries are devastating. In addition, because of their high muzzle velocities, assault weapons are challenging for untrained civilians to control and are not optimal for home defense …
‘But with a standard 30-round magazine, assault rifles are perfect for mass murder.’
He noted though he did not regret what he said.
‘Nevertheless, I have no regrets. Having semiautomatic weapons makes no sense. It is a public-health issue that, as a doctor, I felt compelled to bring to the Senate’s attention. As a citizen, I am saddened that our government has become so dominated by pro-gun lobbyists that an appointment such as mine – which has no responsibility for gun control – can be sidelined by a single sentence of informed, personal opinion. And that really is insane.’
Featured image via Facebook.