No Vote of ‘Confidence’ in Eric Shinseki From Carney

Shinseki (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Shinseki (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted May 29, 2014 at 3:21pm

“Confidence” is the one word the White House isn’t willing to say it has in Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.  

Press Secretary Jay Carney faced a flood of questions Thursday about vulnerable Democrats jumping ship and calling for Shinseki to resign in the wake of the blistering inspector general report released Wednesday. Carney deflected by doing a big bear hug of President Barack Obama’s statement last week, when Obama also did not say whether he had “confidence” in his secretary .  

Carney repeatedly refused to answer when pressed to say “yes” or “no” about whether the president had “confidence” in Shinseki. Carney said that the president’s position from last week has not changed — effectively dismissing the pileup of press releases from Democrats. Carney again suggested the president wants to see a report from Shinseki himself on VA scandal and noted that Obama has directed Shinseki to make immediate improvements.  

But the lack of the word “confidence” is also a marked shift from Carney himself, who had previously vouched from the podium that the president has confidence in the secretary.