President Obama called the alleged misconduct at Veterans Hospitals dishonorable and disgraceful during a statement Wednesday.
“Listen, if somebody’s mismanaged or engaged in misconduct, not only do I not want them getting bonuses, I want them punished,” the president said.
Obama made the comments after meeting with Veteran Affairs secretary Eric Shinseki and top White House aide Rob Nabors.
Several lawmakers have called for Shinseki to resign, but President Obama says Shinseki is staying in his administration.
“I know that Rick’s attitude is if he does not think he can do a good job on this and if he thinks he’s let our veterans down then I’m sure that he is not going to be interested in continuing to serve. At this stage, Rick is committed to solving the problem and working with us to do it.”
The president’s announcement comes after reports revealed at least 40 veterans died while waiting for appointments at the Phoenix VA last month and that there was a cover-up of the backlog.
Senator Charles Grassley says the president should be outraged and that he isn’t doing enough.
“I think the president was wrong to praise the secretary of Veterans Affairs for doing a good job when there is obvious evidence out there that he doesn’t have his handle on the problem,” Sen. Grassley said.
White House officials are visiting Phoenix today to begin an investigation into the allegations. They are expected to give their report to the president next month.