“His service to our country is exemplary.”
– President Obama on accepting General Shinseki’s resignation.
THE COMMITMENT to fix the VA was there, but General Shinseki offered his resignation because he felt new leadership was needed. With Democrats clamoring for President Obama to tamp down the furor over the horrific reporting about VA neglect of veterans’ care, Shinseki had little choice.
“After Wednesday’s release of an interim inspector general report, we now know that V.A. has a systemic, totally unacceptable lack of integrity within some of our veterans’ health facilities,” Mr. Shinseki told a conference of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. “That breach of integrity is irresponsible, it is indefensible and it is unacceptable to me,” he said. [New York Times]
“He is a very good man.. not just an outstanding soldier,” President Obama offered in his announcement, commending General Shinseki as a great patriot to our country.
Stylistically, however, Shinseki wasn’t the person to confront the media onslaught that resulted from reporting that revealed malfeasance at VA facilities across the country.
Remaining at the VA, General Shinseki believed he would have been a distraction, with President Obama agreeing.
“He could not carry out the next stages of reform without being a distraction himself.” – President Obama
“Bad news did not get to him,” Obama continued.
Deputy VA Secretary Sloan Gibson will take over responsibilities at the VA temporarily, until a permanent leader can be found.
“But before we start spending more money, our first job is, let’s take care of some basic management issues.” – President Obama