Ask what VA chief knew — and when

Veterans of military service ought to be asking an old cliche question about Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin: What did he know, and when did he know it?

A new inspector general report makes official what many Americans knew, that “failed leadership” at the VA during the Obama administration put some veterans in agency hospitals at risk.

Shulkin was the VA’s undersecretary of health from 2015-16. He was promoted to head the agency when President Donald Trump took office.

According to the inspector general report, officials in three programs under Shulkin’s oversight knew of “serious, persistent deficiencies” during 2015-16. But the report stops short of explaining whether anyone told Shulkin of the problems, and he has said he does not recall having been notified.

If he was, he ought to be sacked. If no one told him of the problems, those who kept the information from him should be fired. It is as simple as that.