The Veterans Affairs Secretary is getting pummeled by critics and the media for falsely stating that he served in the U.S. Special Forces.Secretary Robert McDonald has admitted he lied about serving in a Army Ranger Battalion during his career in the U.S. Army, saying,” “I have no excuse… “I was not in special forces.”
Fox reported on a story from the Huffington Post, where McDonald claimed earlier this year in Los Angeles, that he did in fact serve in the U.S. Specials Forces. According to the report, McDonald was having a conversation with a homeless veteran, when the veteran told McDonald that he served in the special forces.
McDonald replied to the veteran by asking him what years he served, responding, “I was in the special forces.”
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. 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.”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.”
McDonald told the Huffington Post that he had “reacted spontaneously and … wrongly” in response to the homeless man’s claim.
“As I thought about it later, I knew that this was wrong,” McDonald said of his false statement.
The White House released a statement Monday evening saying that it had accepted McDonald’s explanation.
“Secretary McDonald has apologized for the misstatement and noted that he never intended to misrepresent his military service,” the statement said. “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.”
We all have.