WASHINGTON – President Obama accepted the resignation Friday of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, amid a burgeoning scandal over delayed care for veterans at VA hospitals.
In a hastily arranged statement after meeting with Mr. Shinseki at the White House, the president said he accepted the resignation “with considerable regret.”
The president said VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson will take over on an interim basis.
Mr. Obama said Mr. Shinseki presented him with preliminary findings that showed the delayed care has affected veterans at “many” facilities across the country. The president said it was “totally unacceptable.”
The president also said Mr. Shinseki had begun to fire several VA officials deemed responsible for the problems.
Asked if he’s responsible for the problems, Mr. Obama said, “I always take responsibility for whatever happens” in his administration. But he also said the VA’s problem “predates my presidency.”
“The VA is a big organization that has had problems for a very long time,” he said.