A week before Memorial Day when our nation honors its veterans for making huge sacrifices to defend freedom and democracy around the world, Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald suggested that soldiers waiting for healthcare at VA Hospitals are just like Disneyland guests waiting to go on a ride at an amusement park.
The failures of the VA have been well documented, and our veterans have had to suffer long waits for medical services that have too often resulted in the preventable deaths of too many soldiers. The Obama Administration and Secretary McDonald have claimed to try to fix the problems, but there has not been any meaningful reforms put into place.
Worse, the statement made by Veterans Affairs Secretary illustrates a fundamental failure of the Administration to understand the massive problems with how our wounded warriors are treated at local VA Hospitals. Our soldiers in need of medical help are not going to the VA to enjoy a roller coaster or take a boat ride through It’s a Small World.
In his two years as head of the Department of Veterans Affairs, it appears McDonald has fallen into the same bureaucratic quagmire that has swallowed his predecessors. Simply put, he is now a part of the problem.
The inefficiencies and substandard performances that have plagued this Department for years have now become acceptable to the man who was supposed to reform this agency and make it a shining example of the best we can do for our Veterans, not the least.
California veterans are in real need of help from the state and federal government, and having a VA Secretary making off-hand comments that minimize the sacrifices our soldiers have made defending our country is unacceptable.
Secretary McDonald should either resign or be fired for his lack of understanding of the needs our veterans face.
As we celebrate Memorial Day, we deserve a Department of Veterans Affairs who understands the plight of our wounded warriors and American heroes.
Jeff Stone represents California’s 28th Senate District. The district, which is entirely in Riverside County, stretches from the vineyards of the Temecula Valley to the Colorado River and includes the cities of Blythe, Canyon Lake, Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs, Indian Wells, Indio, Lake Elsinore, La Quinta, Murrieta, Temecula, Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage and Wildomar.
For more information visit: www.Senate.ca.gov/Stone or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SenatorJeffStone.