When a veteran in Port St. Lucie, Florida, noticed that the Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital there had neglected to hang a portrait of the country’s newest president, he pointed it out.
According to protocol, every VA facility in the country is required to hang a portrait of the current U.S. president next to a portrait of the current VA secretary.
In Florida, however, there were no portraits of either President Trump and VA Sec. David Shulkin.
According to a report in The Blaze, “The hospital had an empty picture frame hanging beside a portrait of a former Obama-era VA secretary. Sitting in front of the empty frame where the president’s portrait would ordinarily hang was a large plant,” and it was noted that the scene was a blatant refusal on the part of hospital’s officials to acknowledge President Trump.
Vietnam War veteran Joe Carollo was shocked by this omission, so he asked the hospital receptionist about it and said he was told it was “out of her control. She would have to go get a hold of somebody in Palm Beach, that they had all the control of that.” He also learned that VA employees are afraid to talk for fear of dismissal.
However, the situation was soon remedied after Carollo demanded that the portraits be hung.
“I spoke to some employees over there, and they are afraid to talk because they don’t want to get fired,” he said, adding that he’s been hearing from other people who say that the current portraits are missing from VA facilities in other parts of the country.
Reports of the VA hospital in Port St. Lucie not having current official portraits displayed prompted Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.), a disabled veteran who lost both of his legs and one finger while serving in Afghanistan, to demand that they were hung, though officials had refused requests to do so from veterans.
Approximately 18.8 million veterans in the United States are served by 144 VA hospitals. In 2015, it was reported that 5.9 million veterans visited a VA hospital or one of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ 300 veteran centers.
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