House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy became the first Republican leader to call for the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki over the scandal involving secret-waiting lists and falsified wait times.
"General Shinseki, Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, has served his country with honor and integrity. No one doubts his dedication to our nation's veterans," McCarthy said in a statement, according to Roll Call
"However, the current state of the VA is wholly unacceptable and has become a national embarrassment," McCarthy said. "I call on General Shinseki to do what is right and step aside as secretary effective immediately."
McCarthy is the latest in a growing list of lawmakers that has called for Shinseki's ouster, with this week seeing the first calls by Democrats for him to hand in his notice.
On Friday, Georgia Democratic Senate nominee Michelle Nunn called for Shinseki's resignation, MSNBC reported
, joining fellow Georgia Democrats
, Reps. John Barrow and David Scott, who issued their call on Wednesday.
MSNBC also reported that on Thursday afternoon, that Charlie Christ, the former Florida governor and current gubernatorial candidate, called for Shinseki to step down, as did Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, who is challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in November
, evidently beating him to the punch.
Speaker John Boehner has so far refrained from calling for Shinseki's resignation, but said Thursday that he is "getting a little closer," CBS News reported
On Wednesday, President Barack Obama
defended Shinseki's performance, saying the secretary cares deeply about America's veterans and had performed ably in other areas, but he added that he's awaiting the results of an inspector general's report before deciding on any further punitive action, a signal that he may yet ask Shinseki to step down.
"I know that Rick's attitude is if he doesn't 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," the president said.
"I want to see...what the results of these reports are, and there is going to be accountability."
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