Does "military-hating" Kamala Harris want to shut down the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)? No, that's not true: The claim is based on an article that was posted to a satirical website and included made-up quotes from the vice president.
The satirical article (archived here) was published by America's Last Line of Defense on February 9, 2021. The article, titled "Military-Hating Kamala Wants To Shut Down The VA", opened:
What group of people in America hates our military and isn't afraid to show it? Democrats. Obama devastated our military, providing virtually no funding to it for eight long years.
Users on social media saw this title, description and thumbnail:
Military-Hating Kamala Wants To Shut Down The VA
Kamala Harris wants to take our vets back to the hell they had experienced under Obama.
The article included a lengthy quote, purportedly from Harris, that read:
The United States government cannot continue to pay for the every need of what has become a special class of citizen. Veterans are equal to us, not better than. Veterans Affairs coddles them. It creates a dependency upon us which is not doing these former soldiers any good. They need to learn to live on their own two feet and be responsible adults.
The easiest way to assist them on this journey is to cut them off. Within these next four years, we will be shuttering the VA, taking away soldier welfare. The money saved will go to better use in assisting refugee families. These poor folks seek asylum with us and need a boost and it is our responsibility as a nation to provide it.
So here's a message to the soldier boys. Get a job.
Although the website where the article was published is clearly labeled as satire, some people on social media apparently took the above quote from Harris as real, as can be seen here and here. It's not. The quote is fabricated. Furthermore, it contradicts Harris's previous statements on veterans and their families. See here for details of her actual position, as outlined when she was running for president.
The website is part of the "America's Last Line of Defense" network of satire websites run by self-professed liberal troll Christopher Blair from Maine along with a loose confederation of friends and allies. He runs several websites and Facebook pages with visible satire disclaimers everywhere. They mostly publish made-up stories with headlines specifically created to trigger Republicans, conservatives and evangelical Christians into angrily sharing or commenting on their stories on Facebook without actually reading the full article, exposing them to mockery and ridicule by fans of the sites and pages.
Every site in the network has an about page that reads (in part):
Before you complain and decide satire is synonymous with "comedy":
The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.
Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined. Any similarities between this site's pure fantasy and actual people, places, and events are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and satirical. See above if you're still having an issue with that satire thing.
Articles from Blair's sites frequently get copied by "real" fake news sites who omit the satire disclaimer and other hints the stories are fake. One of the most persistent networks of such sites is run by a man from Pakistan named Kashif Shahzad Khokhar (aka "DashiKashi") who has spammed hundreds of such stolen stories into conservative and right-wing Facebook pages to profit from the ad revenue.
When fact-checkers point this out to the people liking and sharing these copycat stories some of them get mad at the fact-checkers instead of directing their anger at the foreign spammers or the liberal satire writers. Others send a polite "thank you" note, which is much appreciated.
NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes americaslastlineofdefense.com as:
A network of sites that publish false stories and hoaxes that are often mistaken for real news, run by hoax perpetrator Christopher Blair.
According to NewsGuard the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.