In a Friday morning statement, President Obama announced that "with regret," he has accepted the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki. Shinseki faced increasing calls to resign, including from many members of Congress, as reports emerged of unacceptable wait times for care across the VA health care system. Sloan D. Gibson, currently the Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs, will serve as acting Secretary until the administration can find a replacement.
However, the President also made it clear that he believed Shinseki's VA tenure was marked by his willingness to be a "champion" for veterans, and that the Secretary is a "good man." Obama said: "Ric's commitment to our veterans is unquestioned....I am grateful for his service." The President also praised Shinseki's statement from earlier on Friday, where the now outgoing Secretary announced a series of reforms to the VA's troubled health care system and apologized for the widespread "lack of integrity" among senior VA leaders.
In response to a question from the press, Obama said that he was convinced to accept Shinseki's resignation based on "Ric's judgement" that "he could not carry out the next stages of reform without being a distraction." The President added that Shinseki "felt like new leadership would serve our veterans best, and I agree with him."