President Obama has accepted the resignation of VA Secretary Shinseki. The President made this announcement in the White House briefing room Friday, following a closed door meeting with Shinseki. President Obama named Sloan D. Gibson, currently the Deputy VA Secretary, to run the department on an interim basis while he searches for another secretary.
LISTEN below to FOX News Radio's special coverage of President Obama's statement, hosted by Dave Anthony:
Watch VIDEO below of President Obama's statement:
Prior to his resignation Friday, Shinseki called the problem "systemic" and "totally unacceptable". He apologized during remarks before the National Coalition on Homeless Veterans. He also announced the removal of senior leadership at the Phoenix VA.
LISTEN below to Shinseki's comments on the VA scandal earlier Friday, as part of a special report from FOX News Radio's Dave Anthony joined by Jared Halpern in Washington DC:
FOX News Radio's Jared Halpern looks back on Shinseki's career:
A decorated Vietnam war veteran who lost part of his foot to a landmine -- General Shinseki rose through the ranks in a 38 year military career that ended with him as Army Chief of Staff. In that position, he drew international attention when at a Senate hearing he suggested more troops would be needed in Iraq than the Bush administration planned.
Shinseki: "Something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers.
President Obama tapped Shinseki to serve as Veterans Affairs Secretary -- he won unanimous confirmation. His tenure was not marked by much controversy, until claims surfaced of delayed care in a cover-up at a Phoenix VA clinic. At a Senate hearing, Shinseki said that report--
Shinseki: "Makes me mad as hell. I could use stronger language here, Mr Chairman."
As other whistleblowers around the country made similar claims, the American Legion called on Shinseki to resign, as did some Republicans, like Kansas Senator Jerry Moran--
Sen Jerry Moran (R-KS) "I ask the secretary to submit his resignation and I ask President Obama to accept that resignation."
For weeks, the White House defended Shinseki, saying he was responsible for many improvements in veterans care.
On Capitol Hill, Jared Halpern, FOX News Radio.
Read a statement below from Kansas Senator Jerry Moran (R) on the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki:
"Leadership matters; Calling for Secretary Shinseki's resignation did not come lightly to me, but accountability starts at the top and the step taken today is just the beginning," Sen. Moran, a member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, said. "We now need accountability and true reform within the VA all across the country. For this to occur, we need a fresh perspective and a leader who is willing to shake up the VA's bureaucratic culture. I believe this individual should not come from within the current dysfunctional system that is failing our veterans. I hope the President is willing to give veterans an individual they can trust to take the Department of Veteran's Affairs in a new direction, and give veterans hope that the VA can move beyond its failures and provide them with the care they earned and deserve. We should not rest until our veterans have a Department of Veterans Affairs worthy of their service and sacrifice."
Read a statement below from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki:
"I want to thank Secretary Shinseki for his long and distinguished service to our country, both in and out of uniform. His devotion to our troops, our veterans and their families remained steadfast throughout and evident always in his willingness to lead. Lilibet and I thank him and Patty for their kindness and friendship and wish them all the best for the future. I look forward to continuing to work closely with the VA leadership to do all we can to properly care for those who have served our nation."