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February 6, 2016

Obama Announces Eric Shinseki’s Resignation (Updated) (Video)

Eric Shinseki Veterans Affairs Secretary

Shinseki resigned Friday. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 11:53 a.m. | President Barack Obama announced Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki’s resignation Friday morning, following numerous calls from Congress for new leadership in the wake of the VA scandal.

Shinseki offered his resignation Friday morning, Obama announced in an impromptu press conference at the White House.

“With considerable regret, I accepted it,” the president said.

Obama named Sloan D. Gibson the acting secretary, and he said White House Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors would stay at the department to aid in the transition and continue his report on the VA for the president. Obama said he wants to name a new VA secretary quickly, and vowed to do what it takes to serve veterans.

“It was Rick’s judgment that he could not carry out the next stages of reform without being a distraction himself,” Obama said of Shinseki. Obama said he agreed. “We don’t have time for distractions. We need to fix the problem.”

Earlier Friday, Shinseki apologized for a systemic failure of the VA health system found by the inspector general in a scathing report two days ago.

Explaining why he accepted the resignation, Obama said he wants someone spending all of their time focused on making sure veterans are getting the care they need and acknowledged the political distractions regarding Shinseki.

Numerous lawmakers have called on Shinseki to go, including many Democrats facing tough reelection races this year.

Obama said he did not accept Kathleen Sebelius’ offer to resign last year after the botched launch of because he thought it would have been a distraction to fixing the problem.

Obama also said that he may ask Congress for more money for the VA budget, but before spending more money, the VA needs to fix its management problems.

Gibson, meanwhile, was only confirmed as a deputy secretary in February, presumably helping to keep him from the taint of having the wait list problems fester on his watch.

Obama said that fixing the wait list problems “isn’t rocket science” and said it will be solved.

But he said that the VA may need more doctors and nurses and other resources to provide the care veterans need.

Obama also repeatedly praised “Rick” Shinseki’s long career of service, but the president appeared angry that a major scandal hurting veterans had blown up on his watch.


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Boehner, Pelosi Question Wisdom of Firing Shinseki

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Why House GOP Leaders Aren’t Calling for Shinseki’s Head

More Senators Call for Shinseki Ouster, FBI Investigation

2014′s Vulnerable Democrats Demand Eric Shinseki Departure in VA Scandal

For Walorski, VA Scandal Is More Than Political: It’s Personal

  • pillpoppinpuppy

    I thought he would wait until after 5PM on Friday. Guess he has to catch a plane.


    I am glad he resigned. now if we can get Obama to resign that would be wonderful.

  • drthomasedavis

    This faux so-called leader has yet to learn one vital lesson. It is obscene for one who has never served to take the liberty of calling an individual such as “General” Shinseki ‘Rick’ rather than General or Mr. Secretary. It is and was a blatant violation of protocol and military discipline. Of course, demigods do not deign to accord To General’s their due. Obama brings to mind an earlier crude dictator, The Roman emperor, Caligula.
    Dr. Thomas E. Davis, Colonel, USA (ret)

  • Layla

    You don’t spend as many years in the military as Shinseki and NOT know how screwed up and inadequate the VA is. This was a coverup from DAY ONE.

    Meanwhile, our vets are still dying from lack of care.

  • guest

    It pisses me off when John Boener comes on CSPAN and makes comments on the resignation of VA secretary Shinseki. He had the nerve to say that President Obama isn’t “off the hook” on this situation. I am a Veteran and don’t get me wrong, what has happened is an atrocity, but in one breath he makes this statement while he holds unemployed Veteran’s and Americans who have been in the workforce their whole lives hostage because he won’t bring a unemployment extension vote to the house floor. I say John Boener isn’t “off the hook” on how he treats Veterans. Talking about opening mouth and inserting foot!

  • Murph Johnston

    Liberty empowers us to choose our goals, the efforts we undertake, and how to adjust our ways when confronted with that we couldn’t foresee.

  • Len Ear

    Those of the liberty school understand that we benefit more from the voluntary collaboration of free men than from centralized control by detached administrators operating with inferior knowledge of local circumstances.

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