Do any of you remember when Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut had to recant his story about having served in Vietnam? I guess he was the first to have the Brian Williams disease, “misremembering.” In the Army, we had another name for that sickness: Charlie-Romeo-Sierra. Well, sadly enough this disease has struck once again, infecting someone we just wrote about recently who had already earned several Washington Post fact checker Pinocchios: Secretary of the Veterans Administration Robert McDonald.
As reported by Fox News, “Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald on Tuesday apologized for lying about serving in the special operations forces in a conversation with a homeless veteran that was caught on camera earlier this year. McDonald made the claim in January while he was in Los Angeles as part of the VA’s effort to locate and house homeless veterans. During the tour, a homeless man told McDonald that he had served in the special operations forces. “Special forces? What years?” McDonald responded. “I was in special forces.”
“The exchange was broadcast on “The CBS Evening News” Jan. 30. McDonald’s misstatement was first reported by The Huffington Post. McDonald graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1975 and completed Army Ranger training before being assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division until his retirement in 1980.” (Correction, you don’t retire from the Army after five years, you resign your commission)
“According to the Huffington Post, while McDonald was formally recognized as a graduate of Ranger School, he never actually served in a Ranger battalion or other special operations unit. “I have no excuse,” the website quoted McDonald as saying in its report. “I was not in special forces.”
Kinda reminds me of this scene in “Trading Places” with Eddie Murphy.
Ok, so how do you make a misstatement about being in Special Forces? Secretary McDonald did not serve in Special Operations Forces — if he and served in the Ranger Regiment, he could have made that claim. He was a Ranger School graduate, and served in the 82d Airborne Division, a conventional divisional force.
Now, you can just imagine the apoplectic state of hysteria from the left if I had made such a claim – heck, they already try to disparage my 22 years of commissioned honorable military service.
Now, here we have a VA secretary caught in two false narratives — ok, lies — in less than a week. And this coming from someone who is trying to restore the integrity of a severely maligned government agency.
Some will simply dismiss this, but my question is, why did Mr. McDonald, who knew he hadn’t served in Special Forces, feel he needed to make such a bogus statement? And please, don’t tell me he was trying to empathize with the homeless veteran — if he wanted to do that, he should live on the street with him.
Better yet, get the guy up and hired that day. We keep hearing about all the Obama administration hiring vets programs. I hope they’re doing better than the six-month-old Choice Act.
“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.”
“At a news conference outside VA offices on Tuesday, McDonald also told reporters he made the misstatement in a conversation with a homeless veteran he was trying “to connect with.” McDonald added: “I apologize for that. I have no excuse for it.” The VA secretary has drawn expressions of disappointment, but no demands for his resignation. “A lie is a lie,” said Michael Helm, national commander of the American Legion, the largest veterans service organization. “I can’t believe people do this.” McDonald told the Huffington Post that he had “reacted spontaneously and … wrongly” in response to the homeless man’s claim.”
Commander Helm, I can believe they do this. They abandon Americans to die at Benghazi and lie about it with a false narrative they knew wasn’t true. They lie about the healthcare law. They lie about the number of Americans unemployed. It has become the new normal.
My good friend at Fox News, Greta Von Susteren, says it best,”Washington D.C. has become a city with no consequences.”