Uniformity is one of the hallmarks of our government. Or at least it’s supposed to be. When you see a federal building anywhere in the country, there will be a U.S. flag flying. Prominently displayed inside there will be pictures of the current president and secretary ultimately in charge of the agency and/or the vice president. Whether in a federal building in Washington D.C., a post office in Peoria, or a Veterans Administration hospital in Florida, that’s federal protocol.
Which is why when one U.S. Congressman walked into a VA hospital in his home district and didn’t see the pictures of the aforementioned officials, he decided to correct the situation.
Brian Mast (R-FL) represents Florida’s 18th congressional district which includes West Palm Beach. West Palm Beach is home to the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center. According to his office, Mast, who is a veteran himself, had been contacted by several constituents who also wore this country’s uniform, who wanted to know why President Donald Trump’s portrait and Secretary David Schulkin’s portrait were not on display at their VA hospital. The lobby of the facility merely contained two empty picture frames where the photos were supposed to be.
According to the local CBS affiliate:
“Two blank holes, it’s been 60 something days now,” said Veteran John Rourke. “The veterans administration has been asked about it a few times, the local VA hospital has and they haven’t had any real reason other than they didn’t have the picture, which is readily available.”
Army veteran John Rourke agrees, “That’s the person who would ultimately give the order for us to put our lives in danger and we believe that his picture should be displayed there proudly.”
Rather than write a memo, make a phone call or send an email, Mast decided to take matters into his own hands. On Tuesday, accompanied by other veterans, Mast showed up at the hospital personally with the pictures in tow and demanded they be installed. He and the vets stood by and watched as the empty frames on the walls had the pictures installed.
A Facebook group calling itself “Grunt Works” published a video of the entire episode.
The local CBS news affiliate published the following statement from Mast’s Washington Office:
“This morning, Congressman Mast visited the West Palm Beach VA, where he gets his own healthcare, after numerous calls from constituents that there was a delay in hanging up photos of the new VA Secretary and President—photos that are hung in every VA facility across the country. While there, he addressed the concerns of these local veterans by helping to hang the official photos of Secretary Shulkin and President Trump.”
However, soon after Mast, the vets, and the cameras left, administrators at the VA facility took the portraits down.
A VA spokeswoman said that the congressman’s actions and the actions of the veterans who accompanied him were “inappropriate” and the cell phone video was not legally obtained. She said the portraits have been removed because they have not been “authenticated.”
It’s a photograph! Is “authenticating” it really that hard? Either the guy in the picture is the president or is not. The veterans who use the hospital want the pictures up. The bureaucratic government employees who work in the hospital do not.
Still don’t believe there are hold-overs working within the U.S. government who are trying to undermine Trump and the Trump agenda?
[Note: This article was written by Derrick Wilburn]