President Obama drew criticism from veterans and lawmakers for not stopping by the infamous Phoenix Veterans Affairs hospital while in Arizona Thursday.
The President passed on visiting the site that sparked a federal investigation into its delayed medical care scandal which highlighted the horrible conditions of the VA system nationwide.
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A veteran waiting outside the VA when Obama by the building said, "His claim that he has the backs of our military and of our veterans–this is proven to be untrue."
Obama was in Phoenix on Thursday to discuss home ownership and announce new FHA policies. The stop in Phoenix was part of Obama's series of announced proposals before his State of the Union address to come later this month. To make matters worse, the event Obama held was less than a mile away from the VA.
Republicans said the President needs to change his priorities.
"It’s time for the White House to stop blocking bipartisan bills that the people want and get to work on real solutions and genuine reform," House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said. "Don’t drive past the problems, Mr. President. Start helping us fix them."
Obama's choice to opt for a photo op rather than show his concern over the conditions at the Phoenix VA enraged its members.
A female veteran who watched Obama drive right past her said, "If he took the time out just to see – and see with his own eyes – maybe he could get to the root of the problem."
The controversy raises questions about what Obama will say regarding veterans and the VA during his State of the Union speech. Overused talking points of how the U.S. must take care of the veterans who keep Americans safe would only add insult to injury for incensed veterans.