Veteran outraged over missing Trump portrait at VA clinic

Vet says missing portrait politically motivated
Posted at 6:35 PM, Mar 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-21 06:59:41-04

A Southwest Florida veteran is outraged a portrait of President Donald Trump was missing from the local Department of Veteran Affairs Clinic. He says the clinic in question which sits off Diplomat Parkway in Cape Coral has displayed a picture of every sitting president until recently.

"A couple weeks ago I went to the VA clinic in Cape Coral and when I saw that the pictures weren't there I felt violated," John Delaney said. "I see pictures of President Obama and when I saw the board was empty that troubled me."

Usually portraits of the President and Secretary of Veterans Affairs are up in every VA Medical Center around the country.

"I even called the Whitehouse," he said.

Four In Your Corner spoke with Ralph Santillo, Founder of the Veterans Foundation in Cape Coral to see if similar complaints have been reported. Santillo says he hasn't received any complaints.

"I'm sure there area a lot of people upset that it's not up there but then again there's probably a lot of people that are glad that its not up there," Santillo said.

Santillo says there are other major issues local veterans are facing.

"Housing is always important, homelessness is a major factor all over the country. It runs in spurts here. During the season, when it's warm there's a lot more homeless veterans that come down here."

Santillo adds it's nearly impossible for veterans to find affordable housing.

"Most places require a security deposit and first and last month's rent," he said. "There's nothing available in the Cape."

Delaney tells Four In Your Corner he agrees local veterans are facing difficult issues but says he believes the missing picture is politically motivated.

"If Hillary Clinton was the President of the United States this wouldn't be happening and that's what I believe," she said. "Is it going to hurt me? No, but in the big picture, it's a statement that they're making."

The Cape Coral VA office has confirmed a picture of President Trump and Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkan has been put up in response to complaints and an immediate order display temporary photos until original portraits are received.

A spokesperson shared with statement with Four In Your Corner:

"The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), like all other federal agencies, relies on the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) to provide official photos of the President to display in our facilities. GPO will print the portraits upon receipt of the file from the White House and then distribute accordingly. Once VA receives the official photo of the President, we will ensure both the photo of the President and the photo of Secretary Shulkin are displayed appropriately. In the meantime, all VA facilities were ordered to post temporary photos of the President and VA Secretary until official portraits are received. The order occurred late on March 16, 2017.  All Bay Pines VA Healthcare System facilities, including the facility in Cape Coral, have posted temporary photos. Larger, permanent photos will be posted as soon as we receive them."