CNN's Jake Tapper on Thursday questioned White House chief of staff Denis McDonough about the deadly wait times at many VA hospitals, and asked him why the Obama administration "ignored" calls for VA reform. [See video below.]
"This letter from [Jeff Miller], the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, from one year ago warns of dramatic problems at the VA, a perfect illustration of the management failures, deception, lack of accountability permeating VA's health care system, an alarming pattern of serious and significant patient care issues," Tapper said. "This was sent to President Obama in May 2013, according to Congressman [Jeff] Miller. His office got no response from the president. It was referred to General [Eric] Shinseki [the Secretary of Veterans Affairs] who, according to them, sent back boilerplate. This is a year ago [Mr. Miller] was warning about this."
Tapper went on to ask the White House chief of staff, "How many stories like this, how many letters like this, how many dead veterans" will it take before the White House decides to takes action to rectify the situation?
"This letter [from Congressman Miller] was sent a year ago, and you guys ignored it," Tapper said.
Tapper also asked McDonough why, for months, Secretary Shinseki rebuffed interview requests from reporters who were seeking information about the problems plaguing the VA hospitals - problems that have led to numerous fatalities among military veterans.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, last week, quoted President Obama as saying that he has full confidence in the VA Secretary and that he has no plans to ask for Shinseki's resignation - which prompted Tapper to ask McDonough, "How on earth can the president have full confidence in him?"
Tapper also asked the White House Chief of Staff why Shinseki is not being "held accountable" for his gross negligence.
However, an even bigger question that needs to be addressed is: Why isn't President Obama being held accountable for his own gross negligence, namely his prolonged and protracted silence and his refusal to respond to numerous pleas over the last year to take action to halt the growing wave of preventable veteran deaths?
Pray tell, is the President the only person on this planet who is immune to accountability?
Secretary Shinseki and President Obama should do the right thing and tender their resignations immediately. The negligence they've exhibited in disregarding the problems in the VA and ignoring the pleas for assistance has led to numerous unnecessary deaths among military veterans; it is time for Obama and Shinseki to step down.
Related Post: Scores of dead veterans do not share Obama's [feigned] confidence in Shinseki