Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki has taken the fall for allegations of widespread mismanagement, records falsification and other problems at the nation’s VA facilities. President Obama announced Friday morning in a televised address that he had accepted the resignation.
Congressional Republicans and liberal critics alike have reacted with disgust to allegations that VA employees falsified records to hide lengthy wait times for veterans to receive treatment. Obama has said since even before his presidency that he would reduce lengthy wait times for vets.
The issue has drawn mainstream attention in a way other supposed Obama wrongs have not. Stephen Colbert, in his role as a conservative blowhard, welcomed the veterans mess as a Obama’s first “real scandal,” different from other, manufactured scandals.
The scandal has led to fingerpointing — Bush’s wars helped create the backlog, and Bush had long wait times too — but also a growing sense that the problem is a bipartisan failure, in need of a bipartisan solution. The Bush Administration left a message for Obama stressing that serious improvements were needed for veterans.
Obama split some of the public’s attention by making the announcement Friday morning two hours after a fairly softball interview on “Live With Regis and Michael.”
Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson will serve in the post temporarily until Obama names a permanent successor.
Watch the announcement: