A veterans group is calling President Obama’s refusal to visit the scandal plagued Phoenix while he is staying in the city a "slap in the face." The President is staying in a hotel only a few blocks away and the presidential motorcade drove right passed the hospital.
The Phoenix VA hospital was the site of numerous patient deaths because of a secret waiting list.
“We would think if he was serious about VA reform that he would come down to the Phoenix VA, see what the problems are. See them first hand and come up with solutions on how to fix it,” Matthew Kenney of Concerned Veterans for America said.
"While he addresses an adoring crowd, five minutes away there are wounded veterans still awaiting timely care, and long-overdue accountability, at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Hospital—the same hospital where, less than one year ago, America learned how grossly mismanaged our VA system had become.
“President Obama has faced many crises during the first six years of his administration. But the crisis of care and accountability at our nation’s veteran hospitals, and the outrages that have been permitted to fester under his watch, is one he has yet to show he is serious about fixing,” CEO of Concerned Veterans for America, Pete Hegseth wrote in an op-ed for the Arizona Republic.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest defended the President's decision not to visit the VA hospital.
“When the President appointed an acting secretary of the VA, Sloan Gibson, to that responsibility in the aftermath of some of these revelations, Mr. Gibson’s first visit as the Acting Secretary of the VA was to that Phoenix facility.
“I can tell you that once the President nominated a permanent secretary of the VA, Mr. McDonald, to that job, that his first trip as VA secretary was down to Phoenix. And there have been some important personnel changes that have been made at that facility there.
"There have been substantial operational reforms in place that are ensuring that the needs of the veterans in Phoenix are being better met by the medical facility there," Earnest said.