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President Barack Obama to visit Phoenix VA hospital

PHOENIX — President Barack Obama will visit the embattled Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix on Friday.

Obama will be joined by VA Secretary Robert McDonald when he visits the Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center at 11:15 a.m.

The president is scheduled to leave the Valley about 3 p.m.

In January, Obama was criticized after his motorcade bypassed the hospital when he was in Phoenix to discuss a new housing plan.

During his stay, Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) urged Obama to visit the hospital, which was the beginning of a nationwide scandal concerning the VA and veteran wait times and health care.

According to Concerned Veterans for America, since the scandal broke, the president has not paid a visit to any VA facility.

“He’s been very hands off throughout this entire scandal,” Dan Caldwell with the organization said. “He’s not shown interest in reforming and fixing the VA beyond signing a bill that he had no role in helping craft and moving through Congress.”

In response to the announcement of Obama’s second recent trip to Phoenix and planned visit to the VA, McCain said in a statement that he hopes Obama speaks to Arizona veterans directly.

“I am pleased that President Obama has finally decided to visit veterans at the Phoenix VA this week, nearly one year after reports first surfaced about Arizona veterans dying due to VA mismanagement and two months after the president’s motorcade drove directly past the Phoenix VA without stopping,” McCain shared.

In 2014, Obama sent an aide to meet with Phoenix VA leadership and conduct a review.