Obama: 'I Will Not Tolerate' VA Abuse

Urges patience despite calls for 'swift reckoning'

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted May 21, 2014 11:45 AM CDT

(Newser) – President Obama's silence on the reported VA hospital scandal is over. Speaking today, he said he "will not stand for" alleged misconduct, including "cooking the books" to hide delays in care, some of which allegedly led to patient deaths. "If these allegations prove to be true, it is dishonorable. It is disgraceful. And I will not tolerate it, period," he said, per the National Journal. If misconduct is discovered, "it will be punished," he said. "I know that people are angry and want swift reckoning." But he noted that time is needed for a full investigation to take place.

Amid calls for VA head Eric Shinseki's firing, Obama called him a "great soldier" who's "put his heart and soul" into the department, Fox News reports. Twenty-six VA facilities are now under investigation in the scandal, CNN reports, per the Office of the Inspector General. White House deputy chief of staff Rob Nabors is reviewing the situation alongside Shinseki; Nabors is heading to Phoenix, the site of the first allegations. Also today, chief of staff Denis McDonough is meeting with the Senate VA committee chair, and the House is set to vote on a bill boosting the VA secretary's authority to fire top execs, Fox notes. Initial investigation results are due next week, the Journal reports.

President Barack Obama listens to a question as he speaks to reporters Wednesday, May 21, 2014.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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