While calls for Veteran Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign are growing with every passing day, Michelle Nunn is only the third Georgia Democrat to say publicly that Shinseki should be replaced. Nunn is a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in one of the very few states that Democrats might have a chance of winning in 2014.
“It has become increasingly clear that we need new leadership to build confidence, focus and accountability at the VA to fix what is wrong with the agency," Nunn said in a statement. "I hope that General Shinseki will step aside to allow for fresh leadership to tackle these pressing issues and support the veterans that the General is deeply committed to serving.”
Shinseki is a retired U.S. Army four-star general who served in active combat in the Vietnam War. Shinseki was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2009 as then President-elect Barack Obama's pick for Secretary of Veteran Affairs.
On Thursday, two Georgia Reps. John Barrow (D-Ga) and David Scott (D-Ga) called for General Shinseki to resign. Republicans have been more outspoken about Shinseki's need to leave his post, but in light of more allegations of medical fraud and negligence within the VA medical centers across the country, President Barack Obama's party has no choice but to push for leadership change.
According to reports by various news outlets, mainly CNN, dozens of veterans died waiting for care while VA officials allegedly engaged in cover-up, all under Shinseki's watch. The President has done nothing but defend Shinseki while the General himself said he'd leave the issue of his resignation up to Obama.
Nunn is running in a competitive race in Georgia, but due to the Republican primary going into runoff, she won't know who her challenger is until July 22. Nunn tried to avoid the issue of the Veteran Affairs scandal during a recent primary debate, and when asked directly she said it's up to the President to decide whether Shinseki should leave.
However, her refusal to discuss hot button issues, such as Obamacare, received a lot of criticism in the media. Sooner or later, she'll be forced to pick a side, and today she took her first step.
Incidentally, this coming Monday is Memorial Day when the country remembers and celebrates the women and men who died serving in U.S. armed forces. The issue of Shinseki's staying power is almost guaranteed to remain front and center.