On Monday, White House press secretary Jay Carney continuously referred to the American Legion’s supposed praise of the administration over the resignation of a top VA health official, Under Secretary for Health Robert Petzel.
Petzel, which was first reported by PeoplesPunditDaily.com last week, had already announced back in September that he planned to retire in 2014. The American Legion, despite White House claims, said in a statement that the resignation as “business as usual.”
“The American Legion said that the group looks at Petzel’s resignation as a, quote, step towards addressing the leadership problem at the VA,” Carney said. “So I think that undercuts the assertion that that is not a meaningful development.”
However, the American Legion, which posted a statement at the top of the site, had a different take altogether. “Secretary [Eric] Shinseki and Under Secretary [Allison] Hickey remain on the job. They are both part of VA’s leadership problem, and we want them to resign as soon as possible.”
Now, with Carney’s words called into question, again, the White House is trying to explain the mischaracterization in their typical fashion — blame someone else.
Carney was just quoting newspaper accounts, the White House said, pointing to the Washington Times and USA Today. On, Friday the papers ran a quote from spokesman John Raughter characterizing the resignation as a “step towards addressing the leadership problem at the VA.”
When asked if he thought the White House fully understand and portrayed their position, there was a clear disconnect.
“Not at all,” he said. “We feel there is a cultural change that needs to be made.”
“We hope they read the commander’s full release on Dr. Petzel’s resignation,” American Legion spokesman, Peter Gayton, also told ABC News.