Incompetent White House learned about the VA scandal on the news

The White House first learned of fraudulent waiting lists at Veterans Administration hospitals through — drumroll, please — news reports. At least that’s what White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters yesterday afternoon at the daily press briefing.

“If you mean the specific allegations that I think were reported first by [CNN] out of Phoenix, I believe we learned about them through the reports. I will double-check if that’s not the case,” said Carney. “But that’s when we learned about them, and that’s when, as I understand it, [VA] Secretary [Eric] Shinseki learned about them and immediately took the action that he has taken, including instigating his own review — or initiating his own review, but also requesting that the inspector general investigate.”

President Obama learned about the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups from the news. He first heard about the NSA’s spying on world leaders “through the press.” The same bullshit line with given with the Fast and Furious scandal, the seizure of Associated Press phone records, and the Obamacare website disaster.

In all seriousness, what the actual fuck is going in this White House and administration? This shit was funny for, like, a minute when Jon Stewart mocked President Obama last May, telling his audience that he “wouldn’t be surprised if President Obama learned Osama bin Laden had been killed when he saw himself announcing it on television!”

This latest scandal, however, involves the deaths of 40 veterans at the VA hospital in Phoenix due to fraudulent wait times as well as reports of inaccurate wait times other VA-run hospitals around the country. Reports indicate that Obama and his team had been informed right after the 2008 election that VA hospitals were fraudulently reporting wait times. The VA inspector general’s office reportedly launched an investigation months ago. The same “we saw it on the news” line absolutely doesn’t work here.

Carney indicated that President Obama who is reportedly “madder than hell” about the VA scandal, will address the issue “at some point…soon,” but that’s far too little, far too late. This has been in the news cycle for nearly a month. The only action the White House can really claim is the resignation of a VA official who was retiring anyway, and they’re trying to point to that as some measure of accountability.

It’s amateur hour at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, folks. And, sadly, veterans have paid the price for what is nothing short of malfeasance on the part of the VA — and, by extension, President Obama. This is his administration. The buck stops with him. Heads should be rolling.

*Yeah, I take this personally. My father was a Vietnam veteran who occasionally sought treatment from the VA. Though I’m not fond of the foreign policy this or other recent administrations have taken, our veterans deserve the best treatment and care.

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