Skip to main content

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.

Should the head of the VA lose his job?
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.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook.com/CNNOpinion.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:21 AM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
Carlos Moreno says atheists, a sizable fraction of Americans, deserve representation in Congress.
updated 12:25 PM EDT, Sun August 31, 2014
Julian Zelizer says Democrats and unions have a long history of mutual support that's on the decline. But in a time of income inequality they need each other more than ever
updated 12:23 AM EDT, Sun August 31, 2014
William McRaven
Peter Bergen says Admiral William McRaven leaves the military with a legacy of strategic thinking about special operations
updated 12:11 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Leon Aron says the U.S. and Europe can help get Russia out of Ukraine by helping Ukraine win its just war, sharing defense technologies and intelligence
updated 1:24 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Timothy Stanley the report on widespread child abuse in a British town reveals an institutional betrayal by police, social services and politicians. Negligent officials must face justice
updated 9:06 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Peter Bergen and David Sterman say a new video of an American suicide bomber shows how Turkey's militant networks are key to jihadists' movement into Syria and Iraq. Turkey must stem the flow
updated 11:54 AM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
Whitney Barkley says many for-profit colleges deceive students, charge exorbitant tuitions and make false promises
updated 10:34 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Mark O'Mara says the time has come to decide whether we really want police empowered to shoot those they believe are 'fleeing felons'
updated 10:32 AM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Bill Frelick says a tool of rights workers is 'naming and shaming,' ensuring accountability for human rights crimes in conflicts. But what if wrongdoers know no shame?
updated 10:43 PM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Jay Parini says, no, a little girl shouldn't fire an Uzi, but none of should have easy access to guns: The Second Amendment was not written to give us such a 'right,' no matter what the NRA says
updated 1:22 PM EDT, Sat August 30, 2014
Terra Ziporyn Snider says many adolescents suffer chronic sleep deprivation, which can indeed lead to safety problems. Would starting school an hour later be so wrong?
updated 9:30 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Peggy Drexler says after all the celebrity divorces, it's tempting to ask the question. But there are still considerable benefits to getting hitched
updated 2:49 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
The death of Douglas McAuthur McCain, the first American killed fighting for ISIS, highlights the pull of Syria's war for Western jihadists, writes Peter Bergen.
updated 6:42 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Former ambassador to Syria Robert Ford says the West should be helping moderates in the Syrian armed opposition end the al-Assad regime and form a government to focus on driving ISIS out
updated 9:21 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says a great country does not deport thousands of vulnerable, unaccompanied minors who fled in fear for their lives
updated 9:19 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Robert McIntyre says Congress is the culprit for letting Burger King pay lower taxes after merging with Tim Hortons.
updated 7:35 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Wesley Clark says the U.S. can offer support to its Islamic friends in the region most threatened by ISIS, but it can't fight their war
updated 4:53 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
America's painful struggle with racism has often brought great satisfaction to the country's rivals, critics, and foes. The killing of Michael Brown and its tumultuous aftermath has been a bonanza.
updated 3:19 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Rick Martin says the death of Robin Williams brought back memories of his own battle facing down depression as a young man
updated 11:58 AM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
David Perry asks: What's the best way for police officers to handle people with psychiatric disabilities?
updated 3:50 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Julian Zelizer says it's not crazy to think Mitt Romney would be able to end up at the top of the GOP ticket in 2016
updated 4:52 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Roxanne Jones and her girlfriends would cheer from the sidelines for the boys playing Little League. But they really wanted to play. Now Mo'ne Davis shows the world that girls really can throw.
updated 5:04 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Kimberly Norwood is a black mom who lives in an affluent neighborhood not far from Ferguson, but she has the same fears for her children as people in that troubled town do
updated 5:45 PM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
It apparently has worked for France, say Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider, but carries uncomfortable risks. When it comes to kidnappings, nations face grim options.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT