By Jeff King
Two major figures inside the Beltway turned in their resignations today. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney received a hug from the President this morning. He “…will spend more time with his family…” before deciding his next career move. Carney will be replaced by press aide Josh Earnest.
And Maj. Gen. Eric Shinseki (US Army, retired) resigned as Secretary of the Veterans Administration today. He did so, according to reports, to eliminate the distraction of his presence while the tragedies of medical attention lapses for America’s veterans come under more and more scrutiny.
The retired Army officer will return home to Hawai’i. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), released a statement saying, “General Shinseki is a war hero and public servant who gave everything he had to our country and the job of Secretary of Veterans Affairs. In his judgment, it was time for new leadership to move forward. The problems uncovered are appalling and unacceptable and the VA must deliver accountability for any wrongdoing and systemic changes to ensure this doesn’t happen again. I pledge to work with the new Acting Secretary to make sure all veterans get quality and timely care.”
Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), stated “General Eric Shinseki’s patriotism and dedication to this nation is without parallel. I’ve had a number of opportunities to talk directly with General Shinseki about the challenges facing the VA. I agree with the President’s statement that his ‘commitment to our veterans is unquestioned.’
“I respect the Secretary’s decision to step aside in order to avoid being a distraction. The focus should be on delivering care to our veterans and ensuring the VA has the necessary resources to accomplish that. As I’ve done all year long, I met with veterans groups in Hawaii this week to discuss their firsthand experiences with the VA. I will take their comments, insights and concerns back to DC to inform my work to address the unacceptable situation that has been uncovered.”
Speculation on Shinseki’s replacement is not exactly running rampant and applicants for the job are not flooding the White House.