U.S.

Obama Accepts VA Secretary Eric Shinseki's Resignation

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki has resigned, and President Obama has accepted his resignation.

Obama Accepts VA Secretary Eric Shinseki's Resignation
Flickr / Chuck Hagel
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President Barack Obama announced Friday morning embattled Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki has resigned from his position. (Via Flickr / Chuck Hagel)

"A few minutes ago, Secretary Shinseki offered me his own resignation. With considerable regret, I accepted." ​(Via The White House)

As CNN points out, President Obama vowed he would demand disciplinary action if problems were uncovered at VA medical facilities.

The president said he regretted accepting Shinseki's resignation. But he also said the VA "needs new leadership" and Shinseki had become a distraction.

"We don't have time for distractions. We need to fix the problem." ​(Via The White House)

President Obama met with Shinseki just minutes before the announcement for what Politico called a "serious conversation" about the secretary's ability to handle the growing problems in his department.

Shinseki's resignation comes after months of backlash and accusations against his department. It has been accused of mismanagement, falsification of records and other issues at veterans' health facilities.

NBC notes the controversy all started when a report surfaced last month that dozens of veterans on a "secret waiting list" in Phoenix, Arizona, died while waiting for medical treatment.

And a VA inspector general's report released Wednesday found more than 1,500 veterans at that facility were never put on an official waiting list. The report alleges misconduct like this and other issues had been going on at the facility since 2005. (Via The New York Times)

Shinseki previously said he wasn't aware of any of these issues and apologized during a speech at the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans' annual conference in Washington Friday morning.

"Again, this situation can be fixed with VA, VSOS, Congress and all our stake holders like many of new this room working together with the best interest of veterans at heart." (Via C-SPAN)

Shinseki has served as Veterans Affairs secretary since 2009. President Obama announced Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson will take temporary charge of the department until a permanent replacement is found.