Amid calls for his ouster over the ongoing scandal within his department, Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki has at least one public official on his side. In a speech Tuesday morning, Barack Obama responded to mounting allegations of postponed treatments and fabricated records within VA hospitals that have potentially led to dozens of veteran deaths.
During his prepared remarks, he insisted he “will not stand for” misbehavior within the VA. Obama also noted that, instead of heeding the advice of veterans’ advocates who have requested Shinseki’s resignation, he instead decided to put the VA secretary in charge of the internal investigation.
I would have been very impressed if Obama had fired Shinseki yesterday on the spot. Instead appointed the incompetent to investigate himself
— Ulysses Dude McGill (@Just_a_Texan) May 21, 2014
Following his address, Obama took two questions from previously selected reporters, one of which sought to determine whether he believes Shinseki should bear the blame for actions that took place under his watch.
He called the embattled leader a “great soldier,” declaring that “nobody cares more about our veterans than Ric Shinseki.”
Maybe Shinseki WAS a “great soldier” thx4that. However, he is NO LEADER. Kinda like his BOSS.
— deborah wickenheiser (@debredbird) May 21, 2014
Obama listed several accomplishments, including Shinseki’s efforts “on homelessness, on 9/11 GI bill, [and] on working with us to reduce the backlog across the board,” noting that he “has taken it very seriously.”
The VA secretary is now tasked with investigating allegations within his own department and reporting back to the White House.
In his speech, Obama declared that he wants to “see what the results of these reports are,” asserting “there is going to be accountability.”
He concluded that there should be “significant improvement in terms of how the admissions process takes place in all of our health care facilities.”
Shinseki, Obama believes, is capable of overseeing that progress.
Obama to generals who disagree with him on the wars: FIRED. Obama on General Shinseki over vet deaths: full confidence.
— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) May 21, 2014
“So I know he cares about it deeply,” he said. “And he has been a great public servant and a great warrior on behalf of the United States of America.”