Internal report supports VA whistleblowers’ claims; Shinseki apologizes and resigns

President Obama walks with VA Secretary Shinseki on WH grounds. Official WH photo by Pete Souza.

Shinseki walks with Obama on White House grounds. Official WH photo by Pete Souza.

President Obama announced Friday that he had accepted the resignation of Eric Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs.Sloan D. Gibson will replace Shinseki as acting secretary. Ron Nabors, White House Deputy Chief of Staff, will aid Gibson in the transition and report back to the president. “With considerable regret,” the president accepted the resignation.“It was Rick’s judgment that he could not carry out the next stages of reform without being a distraction himself,” Obama said.

A few minutes ago, Secretary Shinseki and Ron Nabors presented me with the department’s initial review of VA facilities nationwide. What they found was misconduct, not limited to a few facilities but many across the country. It’s totally unacceptable. Our veterans deserve the best.

Sec. Shinseki has begun the process of firing many of the people responsible, including senior leaders at the Phoneix VA, He has cancelled any possible performance bonuses this year for VHA [sic] senior executives and he has ordered the VA to personally contact every veteran in Phoeneix waiting for appointments to get them the care that they need and deserve.”

Earlier on Friday, Shinseki met with a veterans group and apologized for VA’s problems before meeting privately with Obama.

I extend an apology to the people whom I care most deeply about, and that’s the veterans of this great country, to their families and loved ones who I have been honored to serve for over five years now. I also offer that apology to members of Congress who have supported me, to veteran service organizations who have been my parters for five years, and to the American people.

Shinseki said he had been too trusting of those who reported to him.

I can’t explain the lack of integrity among some of the leaders of our health care facilities. This is something I rarely encounter during 38 years in uniform and so I will not defend it because it’s indefensible, but I can take responsibility for it and I do.

The VA’s internal review, released on Wednesday, is available here. Transcript of the WH press briefing is available here; video below.]