On Monday, Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald apologized for lying. No, not for that lie — not for claiming that he had fired 60 V.A. employees for manipulating military veterans’ medical wait times when in fact the actual number of firings was eight. The lie he apologized for yesterday was his claim that he served in the special forces.
CBS DC notes that “McDonald made the erroneous claim while speaking to a homeless veteran during a segment that aired last month on ‘CBS Evening News.’”
“Special forces? What unit? I was in special forces,” McDonald told the homeless veteran while asking him what Army unit he was in.
In a statement released Monday by the VA, McDonald said: “While I was in Los Angeles, engaging a homeless individual to determine his veteran status, I asked the man where he had served in the military. He responded that he had served in special forces. I incorrectly stated that I had been in special forces. That was inaccurate and I apologize to anyone that was offended by my misstatement.”
Incorrect? Inaccurate? When you go out of your way to categorize a bald-faced lie as an “inaccurary,” which makes it sound accidental, you have not stopped lying. Not surprising, McDonald’s unserious gesture at an apology was good enough for the White House, which issued a statement Monday saying:
We take him at his word and expect that this will not impact the important work he’s doing to promote the health and well-being of our nation’s veterans.
This latest administration black eye since McDonald took over as V.A. chief last July is is just one in a series of embarrassments that include incompetent actions and efforts at blocking Congress’s investigation into the agency’s wrongdoing.
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