“This isn’t theater. This is a problem,” he added. “I’m not interested in photo ops, I’m interested in solving a problem.”—President Obama
When asked about the border crisis, President Obama had the audacity to note that he isn’t interested in “photo ops.” That’s certainly an odd statement for a man who appeared on Between Two Ferns and slow-jammed the news with Jimmy Fallon. But it’s true—there are at least six photo ops this president prefers to ignore or wait until he learns about them on CNN.
1. Night of the Benghazi Attack Photo Op
Unlike the photo released for the night of the Osama bin Laden attack, there is neither photo nor evidence of President Obama’s whereabouts for the night of the Benghazi attack. He did appear at a Las Vegas fundraiser the next day. Perhaps a YouTube video is the culprit for this missing photo.
2. The IRS Photo Op
Despite Lois Lerner’s professed loyalty and unending fandom of the Democrat Party, and her future aspirations for a job at Obama for America, we have no evidence of a recent photo of her and the president. Being under investigation for using the iron fist of the IRS to punish a certain administration’s enemies might make this a less-than-popular photo opportunity for the president. There’s not even a hashtag from FLOTUS to #BringBackourEmails.
3. Bowe Bergdahl’s Platoon Members Photo Op
These American soldiers went on TV to question the premise of trading highly valued enemy combatants for one single American soldier who, by all evidence available, appears to have deserted his unit. Emptying out Gitmo is clearly a higher priority than explaining the logic of this decision to the American people or Bergdahl’s fellow platoon members.
4. The VA Photo Op
You won’t find the president getting photos taken with this guy. Not after the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been found under his watch to overpay people by millions of dollars to defraud and let veterans die before getting care:
The scandal-plagued Department of Veterans Affairs is systematically overpaying clerks, administrators and other support staff, according to internal audits, draining tens of millions of dollars that could be used instead to ease the VA’s acute shortage of doctors and nurses….Rather than moving quickly to correct these costly errors, VA officials two years ago halted a broad internal review mandated by federal law. As a result, the overpayments continue.
What are we getting for spending all this money on the VA?
The Examiner reported earlier this month that more than 1.5 million VA medical orders nationwide were canceled in the past year without any guarantee the veterans received the care that had been ordered. Many of those orders for tests, specialist visits or other services were closed without any evidence in the case files that they had been individually reviewed, or that the patient or doctor was contacted.
Comprehensive reform of the VA system should be a top priority for this nation.
5. The Border Photo Op
Thousands of illegal immigrants are being housed at various locations on the U.S. Border. Sparked by this administration’s policy of not enforcing the law, we have a humanitarian crisis in our hemisphere:
Back in 2010 the bodies of 72 Central American migrants were found on a ranch in northern Mexico. The 58 men and 14 women had apparently been kidnapped by drug gangs, possibly to rob them or perhaps to demand money from relatives. For whatever reason they did not survive.
But even those children and adults who survive the 1,000 mile trip do not always do so unmolested. Last month CNN interviewed a 17-year-old girl who was ganged raped for ‘several hours’ after being told that if she complained she would be murdered.
In a single week in March of this year, Mexican officials found 370 children, the youngest just 9-years-old, who had been abandoned by the coyotes they were traveling with.
President Obama declined to visit the border while in Texas last week. Instead, he had some BBQ in Austin after a vigorous game of pool in Denver, Colorado and a chance encounter with this guy while ignoring the national press’ request for more transparency.
6. The ‘Leading From Behind’ Photo Op
A commercial plane with American passengers flying at 33, 000 feet was downed by Russian weapons Thursday:
This is becoming rather too regular an occurrence to be ignored. The deaths of all those innocent passengers and crew aboard the Malaysian aircraft, who were in no way party to this conflict, makes it impossible for the West to look away from Russian aggression or for Russia to escape culpability. Even if the shooting down of the Malaysian aircraft was accidental and not ordered by the Kremlin, as seems likely, Vladimir Putin is nevertheless ultimately responsible. If you hand a bazooka to a hyperactive teenager and he destroys your neighbor’s house, the person providing the weapon is just as culpable as the one firing it.
The president of United States moves on from noting that nearly 300 people killed “may be a terrible tragedy” to hectoring for more funding for infrastructure.
This isn’t just a photo op President Obama doesn’t want, it’s a crisis he cannot handle. Consider instead President Reagan’s “Address to the Nation on the Soviet Attack on a Korean Civilian Airliner“:
My fellow Americans:
I’m coming before you tonight about the Korean airline massacre, the attack by the Soviet Union against 269 innocent men, women, and children aboard an unarmed Korean passenger plane. This crime against humanity must never be forgotten, here or throughout the world.
Our prayers tonight are with the victims and their families in their time of terrible grief. Our hearts go out to them—to brave people like Kathryn McDonald, the wife of a Congressman whose composure and eloquence on the day of her husband’s death moved us all. He will be sorely missed by all of us here in government.
The parents of one slain couple wired me: `Our daughter . . . and her husband . . . died on Korean Airline Flight 007. Their deaths were the result of the Soviet Union violating every concept of human rights.” The emotions of these parents—grief, shock, anger—are shared by civilized people everywhere. From around the world press accounts reflect an explosion of condemnation by people everywhere.
Let me state as plainly as I can: There was absolutely no justification, either legal or moral, for what the Soviets did. One newspaper in India said, `If every passenger plane . . . is fair game for home air forces . . . it will be the end to civil aviation as we know it.’
The comparison speaks for itself. Unlike Reagan, President Obama figured this was a good time to pivot back to jokes about Delaware.
Meanwhile, Russia’s Vladimir Putin isn’t taking responsibility for the effects of Russian weapons. At least Putin didn’t blame House Republicans. We’ll see how this develops, but based on Obama’s preference to avoid the tough issues, this likely won’t be a future photo-opportunity.