Early Friday morning, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki apologized to veterans and Congress for a VA system that had come under national scrutiny after scathing accusations about the flawed heath care system for veterans, which included yearlong wait times to see doctors during his tenure.
During his announcement, Shinseki declared, “This situation can be fixed.” Less than two hours after that apology, President Barack Obama announced that Shinseki had offered his resignation, which many believe came at the behest of the president who had voiced strong concern over Sheinseki’s leadership, CNN reports.
In an interview that was taped Thursday and aired Friday on ABC, the president had said that he would have a “serious conversation” with Shinseki “to see whether he thinks that he is prepared and has the capacity to take on the job of fixing it because I don’t want any veteran to not be getting the kind of services they deserve.”
A source close to Shinseki told CNN that he had made it clear in conversations earlier this week that he had no plans of resigning unless he was asked to.
“He’s not stubborn, but he will go in armed with the facts. He knows what to do. He knows it’s an uphill battle,” the source said ahead of Shinseki’s meeting with the president, CNN reports.
According to the Associated Press, Shinseki’s resignation comes two days after an internal report found massive and deeply rooted problems in the sprawling health care system that included some veterans waiting years to see a primary care physician. According to the news site, the VA system “provides care to about 6.5 million veterans annually.”
Obama says he accepted the resignation from the retired four-star Army general, who had been in charge of the VA since the beginning of his presidency, with “considerable regret.”