President Obama found time to sneak in a gym workout Thursday, but couldn’t fit in a visit to the Phoenix VA, which served as ground-zero for a major scandal involving delayed health care for veterans.
Veterans had hoped that Obama, who was in town to attend an event at Central High School to tout the virtues of home ownership, would have time to visit the Phoenix VA to show his commitment to VA reform.
But Obama didn’t visit the hospital, and instead headed to a photo-op at a model home in Phoenix with U.S. Housing and Urban Development Sec. Julian Castro.
And then there was the workout.
“And it looks like President Obama did get in a workout in the morning at the Point Hilton Squaw Peak where he’s been staying,” KSAZ reported Thursday. “He apparently worked out before heading off to his events today.”
In what was perceived as another slight, Obama’s motorcade twice drove past the Phoenix VA on the way to the Central High School speech. (RELATED: Obama Motorcade Skips Phoenix VA)
KSAZ noted that the high school is “right around the corner” from the Phoenix hospital.
The group Concerned Veterans for America began pushing for an Obama visit earlier this week, noting that Obama has never visited the Phoenix facility.
“Being that this is ground-zero and the President is only a couple of blocks away from the Phoenix VA while he’s speaking at Central High School, 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 to fix it,” Concerned Veterans of America’s Matthew Kenney told KSAZ.
When asked by reporters during a press gaggle on Air Force One following the Phoenix trip if President Obama ever entertained plans to visit the hospital, White House press secretary Joshua Earnest said “not really.”
“The President traveled to Arizona because Arizona was one of the states that was most hardest-hit — or at least the housing market in Arizona was the most-hardest hit or among the most hardest-hit states in the country in the midst of the housing downturn,” said Earnest. “And so this was an appropriate venue for the President to talk about some steps that he believes we can take, and the steps that he has taken, using his executive authority, to try to build on the momentum in the housing market.”