Obama Standing by VA Secretary as Veterans Demand Resignation Over Waitlist Scandal

President Barack Obama continues to have confidence in Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, amid increased demands for the secretary’s resignation because of reports that veterans had to wait weeks for care and in some cases even died, the White House said.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki discusses the VA’s support for Veterans Treatment Courts during the inaugural Justice For Vets Veterans Treatment Court conference, Dec. 2, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Paul Morigi/AP Images for The National Association of Drug Court Professionals)

White House spokesman Shin Inouye told TheBlaze that the secretary has asked the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General to investigate the problems in Phoenix.

“The president remains confident in Secretary Shinseki’s ability to lead the department and to take appropriate action based on the IG’s findings,” Inouye said in an email.

The American Legion, the nation’s largest veterans organization, called for Shinseki to resign on Monday, and also called for the resignation of Under Secretary of Health Robert Petzel and Under Secretary of Benefits Allison Hickey.

The demand was based on reports that the VA in Phoenix used a “secret list” to cover up the fact that veterans were forced to wait for weeks for medical attention. One report even suggested at least 40 veterans died as a result of not receiving treatment from the Phoenix VA.

The conservative Concerned Veterans for America also called for Shinseki’s resignation.

“As the president said last week, we take the allegations around the Phoenix situation very seriously,” Inouye told TheBlaze. “That’s why he immediately directed Secretary Shinseki to investigate, and Secretary Shinseki has also invited the independent Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General to conduct a comprehensive review. We must ensure that our nation’s veterans get the benefits and services that they deserve and have earned.”

American Legion National Commander Daniel Dellinger said Monday that “poor oversight and failed leadership,” are to blame for scandals that have “infected” the VA.

“The American Legion expects when such errors and lapses are discovered, that they are dealt with swiftly and that the responsible parties are held accountable,” he said. “This has not happened at the Department of Veterans Affairs. There needs to be a change, and that change needs to occur at the top.”