Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald is refusing to apologize for a controversial statement he made comparing VA health care wait times to lines at Disneyland. The statement made on Tuesday caused a massive public backlash that prompted some GOP lawmakers to call for his resignation. McDonald has also received harsh criticism from various members of the public and private sector. Rather than taking the chance to apologize for his statement McDonald is using this opportunity to “double down” on his statement and further reiterate his point that it isn’t the amount of time spent waiting for care but the satisfaction with the overall experience that is most important.
The comparison made by McDonald has not been taken well. The statement can be heard in the tweet linked below:
"It's outrageous and ridiculous!" Veterans blast VA secretary Bob McDonald, who compared VA wait times to Disneyhttps://t.co/0TDdqlVomt
— FOX & Friends (@foxandfriends) May 24, 2016
Despite the backlash McDonald stands by the statement he made earlier this week. He stresses that the overall quality of care is more important than the amount of time it took to receive that care. He has acknowledged his flub but refuses to apologize for anyone he has offended. He said in a public statement reported by politico.com.
“Look, we get it. Wait times are important. There’s no question wait times are important, but they aren’t the only measure of the veteran experience, If I was misunderstood or if I said the wrong thing, I’m glad I have the opportunity to correct it.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has been especially vocal about his criticism of McDonald. He has taken several opportunities to remind McDonald that veterans have died waiting in the lines he claims aren’t important and claims that McDonald’s “comments were not worthy of the veterans he serve.”
Even the Disney Corporation has made an official statement criticizing McDonald. An official spokesperson fired back at McDonald by stating that, yes, wait times are measured within Disney parks and the amount of time their guest spend waiting in line is taken very seriously as it contributes to the “overall experience” of their guests. The official spokesperson said in a statement to Independent Journal:
We take wait times very seriously. We continue to push the boundaries to give our guests the best experience possible. 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.
Veterans, politicians and private companies all seem to be outraged over McDonald’s statements but he refuses to redact his statement or apologize at this time. Whether or not his opinion on the subject changes as the issue gains more media attention remains to be seen.
Are you or the veteran in your life happy with the treatment received at the local VA? Sound off in the comment section!