Vets outraged portraits of President Trump, Sec. of VA taken down from local VA Center
WEST PALM BEACH (CBS12) —
Two empty picture frames in the lobby of West Palm Beach's VA hospital got a group of local veterans so fired up, they turned to their congressman for help.
Photographs of the Commander in Chief and the Secretary of Veteran's Affairs should hang at the entrance to the hospital. But, they don't.
Congressman Brian Mast, himself a veteran, brought the men and the portraits to the facility and demanded they be installed. The whole thing was caught on camera.
This video shows first term Congressman Brian Mast and a group of veterans taking action.
Mast's office says he was contacted by several constituents who wore this country's uniform with the same issue - they wanted to know why President Donald Trump's portrait and Secretary David Schulkin's portait were not there to greet visitors at the VA hospital?
In the video, you can see Congressman Mast carrying the portraits and looking on as workers put them in place. Veteran Beau Brumfield was there too.
"Proud of the fact that the local vet community got it done. We walked in there, we made it happen. It was non-confrontational. It was nonpolitical. We just wanted to see it happen," said Veteran Brumfield.
Brumfield served in the Army infantry, and has seen combat. He said not hanging the photographs was disrespectful.
"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."
Here is a statement sent to CBS 12 News 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.”
Despite Tuesday morning’s development, the VA took the portraits down shortly after Mast left.
A VA spokeswoman tells CBS 12 News , the congressman’s actions and the actions of the veterans who accompanied him were “inappropriate” and the cell phone video was not legally obtained. Additionally, the spokeswoman said the portraits have been removed because they have not been authenticated and portraits on display at the VA need to come from the central office.