VA secretary should resign, shallow regrets not enough 

VA secretary should resign, shallow regrets not enough

DENVER–Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald early on Tuesday refused to apologize for comparing wait times at VA clinics to lines at Disneyland.

However, following a bipartisan firestorm and calls for his resignation, McDonald said he “deeply regrets,” his comments. His comparison of VA lines to Disneyland lines was an attempt at saying they’re not a comprehensive measure of hospital performance..

Advancing Colorado Executive Director Jonathan Lockwood released the following statement:

“The VA secretary’s delayed, shallow apologies are emblematic of the same delays and fake gestures to our veterans within the toxic VA. Millennial communications directors and spokespeople are casually fired for off-message remarks, or unflattering social media posts, yet the VA secretary gets away with a glaring, deeply problematic perspective that impacts the lives of veterans? The VA secretary’s institutionalized power and bureaucratic privilege are allowing him to get away with a perverse view, while most people find his comments worse than inexcusable.”

Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, a leading voice in the call of McDonald’s resignation, said:

“Secretary McDonald’s preposterous statement is right out of Never Never Land. I call on him to resign because it’s clear he cannot prioritize getting our veterans the health care they deserve and have earned in a timely manner.”

One of the strongest criticisms of McDonald’s Disneyland-remarks came from Democratic Illinois Rep. Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran:

“Comparing abhorrent wait times to a trip to Disneyland is unbelievably tone-deaf and hurtful to American heroes desperately in need of care.”

Duckworth added that McDonald “needs to comprehensively address the VA’s systemic problems — and that means reducing wait times, improving care and increasing patient satisfaction.”

Disney slammed the secretary’s comments too. A Disney Theme Parks representative told Independent Journal Review that they do in fact “take wait times very seriously” at their parks, and, “A large team of highly trained industrial engineers are tasked with improving our guest’s experiences, from transportation, to guest flow, to ride comfort and certainly wait times.”

The VA’s inspector general found to widespread outrage that out of about 800,000 records stalled in the agency’s system for managing health care, at least 307,000 records belonged to veterans who had died months or years in the past.