Resignation Friday: Eric Shinseki, Jay Carney are leaving the Obama administration

President Barack Obama announced the resignations of two high-profile administration officials, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, today in separate appearances before the White House Press Corps.

Shinseki’s resignation wasn’t necessarily a surprise. The VA inspector general released a devastating report this week on the “systemic” problems in the VA medical system. The report confirmed the existence of a secret wait list at the Phoenix VA hospital with some 1,700 veterans.

President Obama was, reportedly, “extremely troubled” by the findings, but didn’t immediately push Shinseki, who has served in the post since 2009, out the door. The White House, however, declined to express support for the embattled VA secretary on Thursday.

“This morning I think some of you also heard Ric take a truly remarkable action. In public remarks, he took responsibility for the conduct of those facilities and apologized to his fellow veterans and to the American people. And a few minutes ago, Secretary Shinseki offered me his own recognition,” President Obama told reporters this morning. “With considerable regret, I accept it.”

Many Republicans had already called for Shinseki’s resignation, but some Democrats joined in the chorus after the VA inspector general’s report. President Obama said Shinseki’s presence would have been a “distraction.”

“We don’t have time for distractions,” he said, “we need to fix the problem.”

Deputy VA Secretary Sloan Gibson will serve in the vacant role in the interim.

President Obama appeared again before the White House Press Corp later in the day to announce the surprise resignation of his press secretary, Jay Carney, who has served in that role since 2011.

“One of Jay’s favorite lines is, ‘I have no personnel announcements at this time. But I do, and it’s bittersweet. It involves one of my closest friends here in Washington,” said President Obama referring to Carney, who will stay on until mid-June. Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest will serve as the next Baghdad Bob White House press secretary.

Carney had a tough job, there’s no denying that. He was the face of the White House and often had to defend the scandals and controversies that came out of the administration during his tenure, often with unbelievable bad spin.  There’s probably a greatest hits compilation coming out on YouTube.


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