The White House chief of staff said Sunday that President Obama is “madder than hell” about reports that dozens of veterans died due to preventable delays at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Denis McDonough said the president is demanding that Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki and others in the administration “continue to fix these things until they’re functioning the way that our veterans believe they should.”
“The president is madder than hell. I’ve got the scars to prove it,” he added.
The VA is investigating scheduling practices at its hospitals as part of a nationwide audit after rumors surfaced that a secret electronic wait list showed information from veterans that was entered into computers at a Phoenix VA facility but never saved. Dozens of veterans reportedly died while waiting on the fake lists.
The department’s secretary, Eric Shinseki, resigned on Friday, just one day after lawmakers called for more accountability.
Mr. McDonough defended Mr. Obama’s silence on the scandal, even though the president has not spoken publicly about the scandal since he was in Asia several weeks ago.
“The president has been an active voice for increased resources and reform at the veterans administration since he joined the veterans committee in the Senate,” Mr. McDonough said, CBS reported.
“Nobody is more outraged about this problem right now,” he added. “And he will continue to press as it relates to this question of timely access to care until it is fixed…what we’re going to do is we’re going to get to the bottom of them, ensure we understand exactly what happened, and ensure that it never happens again.”