MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Eric Shinseki’s resignation came just after he told a group of veterans he was taking action to fix problems at the V.A.
“I can’t explain the lack of integrity among some of the leaders of our health care facilities. This is something I rarely encountered during 38 years in uniform and so I will not defend it because it’s indefensible but I can take responsibility for it and I do,” said Shinseki.
He resigned a short time later, setting off a flurry of response.
In East Memphis, where a crowd gathered to open the local campaign headquarters of U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, the long-time lawmaker responded to Shinseki stepping down.
” I respect his decision to hold himself accountable for what happened, but that does not get to the bottom of what happened. We need to know the facts,” said Alexander.
Alexander and Senator Bob Corker requested information from Shinseki about three deaths at the Memphis V.A.
Now they say its time to find better ways to help vets.
“We should say to them here is a voucher. Here is their money. Go choose your own health care,” said Alexander.
Even New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, campaigning with Alexander, weighed in.
“That’s just the beginning. The President needs to roll his sleeves up, dig in and find out what the heck is going on at the V.A. because our men and women who serve in the military deserve a hell of a lot better than what they have been getting at the V.A.,” said Christie.
In a statement, the Memphis V.A. said regardless of the change in leadership, providing high quality care remains its primary mission, but officials at the Memphis V.A. have continued to deny WREG;s request for an interview.
In the Memphis V.A.’s lobby there are photos of President Obama and Eric Shinseki that greet visitors.
That will soon change and that’s what many also hope for hospital conditions.