- The Washington Times - Friday, May 30, 2014

For the second time in just over a week, President Obama has called Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to the Oval Office, the White House said Friday, raising more questions about whether the embattled secretary will offer his resignation.

Mr. Shinseki, under increasing fire to step down, will meet with the president at 10:15 a.m. Friday.

He also was summoned to the White House on May 21, the same day White House Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors left for Phoenix to investigate claims as many as 40 veterans died there while waiting for care at a VA facility.

Mr. Nabors is assisting Mr. Shinseki with his probe into care at VA hospitals, specifically lengthy wait times for care and allegations that VA officials kept false records to hide those wait times.

The VA inspector general also has launched a separate investigation.

Following last week’s meeting with Mr. Shinseki, the president addressed the scandal for the first time and clearly left open the door to fire Mr. Shinseki at a later date.

“If these allegations prove to be true, it is dishonorable, it is disgraceful, and I will not tolerate it, period,” Mr. Obama said last week. “I know that people are angry and want swift reckoning. I sympathize with that. But we have to let the investigators do their job and get to the bottom of what happened.”

On Thursday, the White House refused to say whether Mr. Obama still has full confidence in the secretary.

At least 70 lawmakers have called for Mr. Shinseki to resign. Powerful groups such as the American Legion have echoed those calls.

Earlier Friday, Mr. Shinseki apologized Friday to veterans, members of Congress and the American for what he called “irresponsible, indefensible and unacceptable” actions at VA facilities across the country.

“I will not defend it because it is indefensible, but I can take responsibility for it and I do. So given the facts I now know, I apologize as the senior leader of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs,” he said at the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans conference in Washington.

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