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Two tragedies, two reactions: So what took Obama so long?

By Crystal Wright
updated 10:56 AM EDT, Fri May 23, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Crystal Wright wonders why Obama's VA reaction wasn't as swift as his Trayvon comments
  • Obama waited more than a month to speak on VA allegations
  • In comparison, he commented a week after the Trayvon Martin verdict
  • Wright: Our veterans deserve the same attention to their deaths as Obama gave Martin

Editor's note: Crystal Wright is a conservative writer who runs the blog ConservativeBlackChick.com. She also is a principal at the Baker Wright Group, a communications and public relations firm. You can follow her on Twitter @GOPBlackChick. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN) -- Not even a week after the ruling in the Trayvon Martin trial, President Barack Obama couldn't wait to stand before the White House press corps and "speak to an issue that obviously has gotten a lot of attention," as he said last July.

Yet it took Obama more than a month to address the crisis where 40 veterans allegedly died while waiting months for treatment at a Phoenix Veterans Administration hospital.

Congress has held hearings on the grave matter since April and called Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki among other witnesses to testify. But Obama just got around to holding a press conference Wednesday on the topic.

"So when I heard allegations of misconduct -- any misconduct, whether it's allegations of VA staff covering up long wait times or cooking the books -- I will not stand for it, not as commander in chief, but also not as an American," Obama declared.

Crystal Wright
Crystal Wright

If Obama is as outraged and "mad as hell" as he professes, why did it take him over a month to say anything substantive about vets dying because of months waiting for care? Prior to his long overdue press conference about the VA controversy, Obama only mentioned what has now become another White House scandal in a response to a question from a reporter on April 28 during his Asia trip.

During his press conference, Obama said he wasn't going to jump to any conclusions or call for any resignations until "the investigators do their job and get to the bottom of what happened" at the VA. He added, "we have to find out, first of all, what exactly happened."

In contrast, Obama couldn't wait to jump to conclusions and comment on the shooting of the black teen Martin by George Zimmerman before any investigation or trial happened. Obama made extensive comments on the shooting in March 2012 in the Rose Garden.

"You know, if I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon. All of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves," he said.

Well we certainly didn't hear the president say, if he had served in the military, "I could have been one of those veterans who died." Apparently, veterans, who put their lives at risk defending our country then died at the hands of incompetent VA employees aren't worthy of the same attention and "seriousness" as Trayvon Martin?

Even more indicative of the Obama White House's misplaced priorities is the White House issued a statement from the president on the day of the Tryavon Martin trial verdict last July. No White House statement was issued about the VA allegations.

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Rep. Miller on holding the VA accountable
VA wait lists include returning troops

But clearly a statement on the Martin trial wasn't enough. A few days later, Obama held a press conference about the verdict. "I thought it might be useful for me to expand on my thoughts a little bit," Obama noted.

Martin's death, though tragic, had nothing to do with national security or government malfeasance and didn't warrant attention from the president of the United States. But Obama felt it was very important to comment on the death of a young black man shot by a "white Hispanic" to appease race hucksters like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson who helped elect him.

Stammering throughout his VA press conference Wednesday, Obama told reporters "responsibility for things always rests ultimately with me, as the President and commander in chief."

At the same time Obama claims he didn't know how big the problems were with the VA. How can a president be responsible for problems occurring at agencies if he's not aware of the problems?

This sounds like the all-too-familiar refrain the White House uses. It didn't know about the IRS scandal or the Department of Health and Human Services' disastrous rollout of Obamacare.

Again, Obama promised, "there is going to be accountability." "Listen, if somebody has mismanaged or engaged in misconduct, not only do I not want them getting bonuses, I want them punished," he said from the White House briefing room.

Hopefully this time, the President means what he says because in past scandals he has held no one accountable. IRS division director Lois Lerner and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius both were allowed to resign without accountability. Shinseki eventually will do the same.

Regardless of the outcome of the investigation, at minimum our veterans deserve the same attention to their deaths as Obama gave Trayvon.

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