By Kristina Wong - 05/16/14 06:07 PM EDT
The White House Friday said that it backed Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki's decision to accept the resignation of a top official after allegations that VA facilities deliberately hid long wait times for patients.
“The President supports Secretary Shinseki’s decision,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.
VA Undersecretary for Health Robert Petzel's resignation came a day after he testified with Shinseki before lawmakers, who grilled them over the alleged delays in treatment and secret wait lists, which led to deaths.
Several lawmakers and veterans groups have called for Shinseki's resignation and said they were unsatisfied by his answers at the hearing.
The White House has said that Obama is "concerned and angry" over the allegations, but that the president has confidence in Shinseki’s leadership.
"He [the president] has asked Shinseki to conduct a review of Veterans Health Administration practices and procedures at its facilities nationwide to ensure better access to care, and that review is ongoing," Carney said on Friday.
"This review is one of the many steps the Department of Veterans Affairs is taking to ensure our veterans have confidence in and access to the care and benefits they have earned and deserve," he added.
Concerned Veterans of America, a conservative-leaning nonprofit, said Petzel's resignation was really a long-planned retirement.
“Does this administration think we’re idiots? Dr. Petzel’s so-called 'resignation' is a meaningless gesture, as he was already scheduled to retire in a few months,” said the group’s CEO, Pete Hegseth. “Yes, I agree that he should be held responsible and, therefore, fired; but asking someone to retire a few months early is not accountability.
"This is by no means a demonstration that the Department of Veterans Affairs understands how grave the situation really is. If anything, this cynical move reinforces how out of touch VA has become,” he added.
“They’re looking for a fall guy, and Dr. Petzel was convenient."