White House chief of staff grilled on Obama’s silence in VA scandal: He’s ‘madder than hell’

President Obama is “madder than hell” over the Veterans Affairs scandal, and a top VA official did not resign voluntarily, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said Sunday.

While some have called for VA Secretary Eric Shinseki’s resignation, McDonough told CBS News’ Major Garrett on “Face the Nation” that the Shinseki is the right person to head up the investigation into the secret waiting lists scandal.

“President Obama is madder than hell,” McDonough said. “I’ve got the scars to prove it, given the briefings I’ve given the president.”

The forced resignation of Robert Petzel, a top Veterans Affairs official, was already in the works, and the president had already named a successor, McDonough said.

“Does this really amount to accountability, or does this show or suggest accountability over all the issues that have been raised about veterans’ care and the Veterans [Affairs] functionality?” Garrett asked.

McDonough said Petzel did not leave on his own volition.

“Well, Secretary Shinseki accepted Dr. Petzel’s resignation this afternoon,” the chief of staff said. “He was due to retire early next month and obviously there has been a nomination made for his replacement. I leave to Rick [Shinseki] the explanation of his decision, but there is no question that this is a termination of his job there before he was planning to go.”

The president has not spoken publicly about the scandal since late April, when questions arose during a press conference on his trip to Asia, according to CBS News. But Obama did find time to fit in another round of golf on Saturday at the exclusive Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in northern Virginia, according to the Washington Examiner.

Watch the McDonough interview here via CBS News:

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Cheryl Carpenter Klimek

Cheryl Carpenter Klimek

Cheryl Carpenter Klimek has been a political consultant handling public affairs, political campaigns and PAC management for nearly 20 years.
Cheryl Carpenter Klimek

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