Vietnam War veteran Joe Carollo refused to stay silent when he saw that his local Veterans Affairs hospital failed to follow a directive from the National VA. A national directive required VA facilities to hang photos of the current president and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs in their lobbies. Instead seeing a framed photo of President Donald Trump and Secretary Dr. David Shulkin, he was greeted by a potted plant and a picture of former Secretary Robert McDonald.
The directive was issued after a Veterans Affairs hospital in West Palm Beach, Florida, faced backlash after staffers removed photos of President Donald Trump and VA Secretary David Shulkin that were hung by veterans. Carollo expected his local Veterans Affairs hospital in Port St. Lucie to follow the directive and immediately download a photo of President Trump to be framed and hung in the lobby until an official photo could be provided.
The Port St. Lucie facility not only failed to frame a portrait of President Trump, but attempted to hide the empty picture frame behind a potted plant.
“It wasn’t right, it was very disrespectful. I couldn’t believe my eyes that there was no picture there and there was a plant right in front of it. It kind of bothered me a little,” Carollo told FOX News.
Carollo approached the receptionist to make her aware of the failure to follow procedure. She was dismissive and told him that it was “out of her control.”
The VA claimed to be waiting for a picture from West Palm Beach, according to Carollo. When later questioned by CBS12, a VA spokeswoman told reporters the frame in Port St. Lucie was broken and needed to be repaired before a portrait could be hung.
The portraits of President Trump and Shulkin were hung before the end of the day. Carollo is happy with the result, but disappointed that VA staff didn’t take the initiative themselves after the directive was ordered. He said that, when an order is given in the Army, you respond right away.
“It would make me feel better that they did it not because I told him to do it or or asked them to do it,” he said. “They should do it on their own.”