The Veterans of Foreign Wars convention this week will not feature a top-tier official from the Obama administration, a breach in tradition that the group's commander described as an "insult of the highest magnitude."
However, an administration official claimed Monday that the White House made "every effort" to provide a speaker for the event, offering up a range of top officials.
"In all instances, the VFW declined those offers," the official said.
The veterans group is accustomed to playing host to the nation's most powerful people at its national conference. Obama addressed the VFW in 2009, followed by Vice President Biden in 2010.
But the 2-million strong VFW accused the administration of snubbing its members by not providing a "first-tier speaker" for the first time in VFW history.
"The VFW has had a long-standing tradition of inviting the sitting president to address our convention," Richard Eubank, national commander of the organization, said in a statement, adding that the White House typically chooses a "high-level administration official" to speak if the president cannot attend.
"It is an insult of the highest magnitude that for the first time in the history of the VFW, the White House has apparently decided that this great and iconic organization of combat veterans and all of its members are not worthy of its notice by not at least offering a first-tier speaker from the administration."