Barack Obama delivers a statement after meeting with Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki at the White House in Washington, DC, May 21, 2014. Veterans have had to wait months to see a doctor at some hospitals, and allegations have arisen that administrators at a VA hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, covered up the delays there. As many as 40 patients were reported to have died while waiting to be seen by a VA doctor. (PHOTO: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama said in a news conference today that if there's misconduct at the Department of Veterans Affairs, it will be punished.

Obama said if the allegations of misconduct prove to be true, it is dishonorable and disgraceful. He says, "I will not tolerate it, period."

The president said won't stand for people covering up long wait times or cooking the books. He says no Americans should.

Up to 40 veterans may have died because of scheduling problems at the VA health clinic in Phoenix. There are growing concerns that problems may extend far beyond Phoenix.  

But Obama is also asking for patience while investigators get to the bottom of what happened. 

Obama spoke after an Oval Office meeting with VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and top aide Rob Nabors.

The president expressed continued confidence in Shinseki, a retired Army general. Obama has directed Nabors to help the VA conduct the comprehensive review.

The President acknowledged that the VA has been struggling to keep up with a growing backlog after a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.