by Carol Lim
Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned today amid enormous pressure on him to step down. Shinseki’s resignation came after a CNN investigation revealed veterans dying while waiting for treatment, secret patient waiting lists and falsified records of long waiting times for veterans at the VA hospital in Phoenix. Shinseki turned in his resignation after more than 5 years on the job.
“With considerable regret, I accept it, ” President Obama said.
The president said Shinseki understood that his remaining in the VA’s top post would be a distraction to fixing the VA’s problems. More than 100 members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, wanted his ouster.
Before his resignation, Shinseki, a widely-praised, decorated retired general, announced reforms and canceled bonuses for the VA staff acccused of misconduct. Shinseki also apologized to a homeless veterans group this morning for efforts by others to cover up what was really happening within the VA hospital system on his watch. Allegations of delayed medical care, “cooking the books”, doctor shortages and veterans dying while waiting for treatment came from VA hospital whistleblowers.
Shinseki said he was too trusting of the reports from VA supervisors and hospital administators.
“I can’t explain the lack of integrity….rarely encountered it during 38 years in uniform. I take responsibility for it and do,” said Shinseki.
“He is a very good man….He’s a good person,” President Obama said.
After the allegations surfaced about misconduct, delayed care or no access to treatment at the Phoenix VA hospital and others nationwide, complaints from veterans and their families increased about the broken VA health system.
Jay Carney, President Obama’s Press Secretary and an advisor to the president, also resigned this afternoon. At a White House press conference, Carney told reporters he will leave his post in mid-June. Josh Earnest was named to replace Carney.