(Washington, DC) U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), the first female combat veteran to serve in the U.S. Senate, called for the resignation of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert McDonald. McDonald had compared veterans wait times to lines at Disneyland. When you got to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? Or what’s important? What’s important is, what’s your satisfaction with the experience? And what I would like to move to, eventually, is that kind of measure,” McDonald said.
“Secretary McDonald’s dishonorable remarks yesterday make clear that he fails to take seriously the need for timely and quality care for our veterans. He blatantly dismissed the heart ache and pain that our veterans face while awaiting basic care, and illustrated his compete disregard for the incredibly serious issues facing the VA,” Ernst said in a released statement.
“It’s no secret that there is deep corruption within the VA system, leading to more failure and abuse. Secretary McDonald is at the helm, and instead of taking charge to clear out bad actors, he has stood idly by. Any government agency or organization takes on the attitude of their leadership, and Secretary McDonald has been too willing to look the other way. We simply cannot allow the misconduct and poor care to continue without repercussions. That’s why today, I am calling for Secretary McDonald’s resignation immediately.
“As I have stated, too many veterans have died while waiting to receive assistance from the VA, yet the very person our men and women are counting on, the person who is tasked with fixing the serious wait times, is making fun of the problem.
“Our veterans deserve better than a completely incompetent VA. Our men and women have selflessly sacrificed in defense of our freedoms and deserve nothing less than timely and quality care,” Ernst added.
Congressman David Young (R-Iowa) also condemned McDonald’s comments.
“Comments like Secretary McDonald’s reiterate VA leadership just doesn’t get it. Our brave service members have sacrificed so much in defense of our freedoms, and it is inexcusable we continue to see reports of our veterans waiting months or even years for health care they deserve. As a veteran I recently met with said to me, ‘I’m tired of being thanked for my service, I just want the benefits I was promised.’ We must do more for our veterans – they deserve better,” Young said in a released statement.
McDonald apologized after his comments erupted a firestorm. “It was never my intention to suggest that I don’t take our mission of serving veterans very seriously,” the McDonald said in a released statement.
“If my comments Monday led any veterans to believe that I, or the dedicated workforce I am privileged to lead, don’t take that noble mission seriously, I deeply regret that. Nothing could be further from the truth,” he said.