Amid increasing pressure from first Republicans and then Democratic lawmakers, President Barack Obama said Friday that he had accepted the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.
“I want to reiterate: he is a very good man,” Obama said, but the secretary came to believe that “he could not carry out the next stages of reform without being a distraction.”
Shinseki had been under fire from the VA scandal that left hundreds of veterans waiting for healthcare for hundreds of days. In Alaska, GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan has been pressuring Sen. Mark Begich to call for Shinseki’s resignation after a preliminary report was released this week that detailed problems with the VA.
Begich sits on the Veterans Affairs Committee.
This week, Sullivan’s campaign put out a series of releases about Begich and Shinseki, calling Begich, among other things, “derelict” for not demanding Shinseki’s resignation.
On Thursday, Begich held a press conference and called the scandal “unacceptable and outrageous,” and said that he was doing everything in his power to fix the situation. However, he said that he was going to wait until a final report was released before deciding whether or not to call for Shinseki’s resignation.
This week also Kark Rove’s super-PAC, Crossroads, had started running ads tying Begich to the scandal.
The pressure on Begich wasn’t likely the sole reason for Shinseki’s resignation, but it probably added to the decision, as did pressure the administration was feeling from other Senate Democrats, some of them up for reelection.
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