On August 2 2022, a Reddit account shared a Twitter screenshot to r/WhitePeopleTwitter, which claimed that Sen. Rand Paul ((R-Kentucky) opposed veterans’ health care benefits because “they can’t prove they got their health problems” during the course of their military service:
Titled “Rand Paul sucks,” the Reddit post prominently featured a screenshot of two tweets. The primary tweet was by Twitter user Brian Tyler Cohen, and it articulated the claim.
Cohen was retweeting an August 2 2022 tweet by journalist Aaron Rupar, which simply read “get a load of this guy.” A video was attached to Rupar’s tweet (with audio controls visible in the screenshot), but most Reddit users viewed the post as a still image with no indication of what Paul might have been saying in the clip.
In addition to the video still, a chyron indicated that the clip was aired on C-SPAN2. It also bore a “U.S. Senate” graphic, to the left of chyron text reading:
VA BENEFITS FOR TOXIN-EXPOSED VETERANS
SEN. RAND PAUL
Cohen’s original tweet played the clip from Rupar’s post:
In the clip, Paul described his position on the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and “toxin-exposed veterans.” The clip began mid-sentence, then Paul explained his opposition to a bill expanding benefits for veterans:
” … take care of our veterans and keep our country strong, but this bill puts our economy, though, at risk by creating presumptions of service connection for the most common of ailments. For example, this legislation creates a presumption of service connection for Vietnam veterans for hypertension, but according to the CDC, 50 percent of men and 44 percent of women in the United States have hypertension. More than 60 percent of people over the age of 60 have hypertension; in total, the CDC estimates … estimates that 116 million Americans have hypertension.
The legislation also creates a presumption of service connection for global war on terror veterans for asthma … the CDC estimates that one in twelve people have asthma, which is approximately 25 million Americans.
A Twitter screenshot shared to Reddit claimed that Sen. Rand Paul said that “he opposes health care for veterans because they can’t prove they got their health problems while serving.” Video attached to the original tweet showed Paul’s remarks as he proposed a failed amendment to the bill. In the clip, Paul argued the bill created a “presumption of service connection for the most common of ailments,” citing hypertension and asthma as two conditions common to Americans across the board. Paul went on to vote against the bill, which passed in a vote of 86 to 11. His remarks were accurately paraphrased.