President Barack Obama hasn’t decided to fire Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, but he has reached the point where he doesn’t know if the retired general can fix the increasingly troubled agency, White House aides said Wednesday, according to Politico.
When the president essentially put the secretary on probation last week, he said his red line would be evidence that the misconduct at the VA had to be “systemic.” The inspector general’s report released Wednesday seems to meet that threshold, finding “systemic patient safety issues and possible wrongful deaths.”
But while the IG report didn’t help Shinseki, White House aides told Politico that Obama is still waiting to make a final decision until he has more information: a report from Shinseki himself due to the White House this week and one from Rob Nabors, the deputy chief of staff he put in charge of a separate review, which is due in June.
White House press secretary Jay Carney in a statement said that the president was briefed on the findings Wednesday afternoon and found them “extremely troubling.”
On Wednesday Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, both R-Ariz., called for Shinseki to go – the Phoenix VA hospital is at the epicenter of the scandal -- as did five Democratic senators who are up for re-election this year: Mark Udall of Colorado, John Walsh of Montana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Al Franken of Minnesota and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire.