Obama: Embattled Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki Has Resigned
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki resigned today after an Inspector General report confirmed systemic misleading enrollment practices that delayed care for veterans.
President Obama announced the news during a press conference without Shinseki, although he praised him as a war hero, a good soldier, and a dedicated public servant.
“He’s a good person who’s done exemplary work on our behalf,” Obama said.
Obama appointed Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson as the new acting secretary of Veterans Affairs.
“We’re going to do right for our veterans across the board,” Obama said, vowing that he would not tolerate misconduct in his administration.
The scandal weighed down the Obama administration throughout much of the month of May, leading to questions behind Shinseki’s leadership just before Memorial Day.
Obama initially stood by Shinseki, but was forced to accept his resignation after many Democrats joined Republicans in calling for him to leave.
After the Inspector General report confirmed many of the allegations of the scandal, Shinseki apologized for the scandal earlier this morning, admitting that it was worse than he thought.
“I apologize as the senior leader of the Department of Veterans Affairs. I extend that apology to the people whom I care most deeply about, that's the veterans of this great country, to their families and loved ones who I have been honored to serve,” he said.
Obama vowed during his press conference that he would “take care of basic management issues” at Veterans Affairs to ensure prompt health care.
“If we need more doctors, let’s figure out how we can surge some doctors in there to make sure that they’re getting the help they need,” Obama said.
Obama also spoke about changing the culture of the Veterans Affairs department, suggesting that more federal spending would be needed to upgrade the system.
“That’s going to cost some money,” Obama said.