America has a “sacred obligation” to take care of its veterans, President Barack Obama said Saturday in his weekly address.
“In recent weeks, we’ve seen again how much more our nation has to do to make sure all our veterans get the care they deserve,” the president said.
Obama’s comments came shortly before Memorial Day and amid an ongoing scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The VA faces allegations that dozens of veterans at a Phoenix facility died while waiting for care. An investigation has been opened into claims that the VA facility covered-up the excessive wait times.
Twenty-six other VA facilities across the U.S. are now under review, too.
Many Republicans – and a growing list of Democrats – have called on VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign over the allegations.
Obama has offered lukewarm support of Shinseki, resisting calls for his ouster – for now. But he was obviously frustrated during a news conference earlier this week after meeting with the secretary.
“When I hear any allegations of misconduct, any misconduct, whether it’s allegations of VA staff covering up long wait times or cooking the books, I will not stand for it,” Obama told reporters Wednesday at the White House.
The end of the Iraq War and the coming withdrawal of U.S. forces in Afghanistan prove that “we have to work even harder as a nation to make sure all our veterans get the benefits and opportunities they’ve earned,” Obama said in his address Saturday. “They’ve done their duty, and they ask nothing more than that this country does ours – now and for decades to come.”
Watch Obama’s full address: