After reports surfaced that a Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix had kept around 1,500 veterans waiting for health care, allowing 40 individuals to die in the process, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki announced his resignation from the department.
Critics of this resignation claim that it was only “damage control,” Yahoo News reports, because Shinseki was expected to retire at the end of this year regardless of the situation.
Although the scandal broke several weeks ago and Shinseki resigned several days ago, President Obama only recently commented on the issue. According to the National Journal, President Obama expressed his disgust at the actions of those at the Veterans Affairs medical facility in Phoenix.
“When I hear allegations of misconduct, any misconduct, whether it’s allegations of VA staff covering up long wait times or cooking the books, I will not stand for it. Not as commander in chief but also not as an American. None of us should. So if these allegations prove to be true, it is dishonorable. It is disgraceful. And I will not tolerate it, period,” Obama said.
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At least 26 additional VA medical facilities also face allegations of delayed wait times for veterans in need of medical care.
President Obama also emphasized the positive aspects of Shinseki’s work in the Veterans Affairs Department, such as his efforts to reduce homelessness among veterans.
“He has been a great public servant and a great warrior on behalf of the United States of America. We’re going to work with him to solve the problem,” Obama said.