President Barack Obama, already under fire for skipping the traditional Memorial Day wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetery, fled from a thunderstorm at Lincoln National Cemetery south of Chicago and hid in a administration building, leaving those who came to hear his remarks scrambling from the rain.
So the White House propaganda machine went into overdrive and hastily arranged a small crowd of hand-picked attendees at Andrews Air Force Base so he could fly back to Washington to try and salvage a Memorial Day that had turned into a public relations disaster.
“This may not be safe,” he said in Illinois as he cut his appearance short and ran for cover.
White House aides put together a small group of veterans to meet with Obama and he made a brief stop at the Hines Fisher rehab house outside of Chicago before hightailing it back to Washington.
Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden stood in for the missing Obama at Arlington. This didn’t sit well with Paul Rieckhoff, founder and executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
“Arlington is hallowed ground and the center of our nation’s attention on Memorial Day,” Rieckhoff noted, adding that Obama “should have been there.”
Other vets wondered why the President chose to ignore Arlington at a time when the nation is embroiled in two wars but some they have come to expect less from a President who never served in the military.