Ryan: VA Chief’s Comments Are ‘Disgusting’ but Not Sure if He Should Resign

Speaker says McDonald should 'clarify his comments' on VA wait times

 House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. ( Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
 House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. ( Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
Posted May 24, 2016 at 11:05am

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan on Tuesday called Veteran Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald’s comments comparing  veterans’ medical wait times to lines at a Disney theme park “disgusting” but wouldn’t go as far as to ask the secretary to resign.  

“I don’t know if he should resign,” Ryan said. “He should clarify his comments. He should show some empathy for the veterans he is supposed to serve.”  

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VA Secretary Likens Veterans’ Wait Times to Lines at Disney

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Ryan noted that it was congressional investigations that uncovered the “fiasco” of long wait times at VA clinics  during which some veterans have died before they could get care. “To date almost no one has been held accountable at the Veterans Administration for a national scandal,” he said.   

Other GOP leaders joined Ryan in condemning McDonald’s comments.   

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Scandal-Plagued VA Overhaul Slow, New Accountability Sought

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“When you go to Disneyland you’re not wondering if you’re going to live long enough to make it to Space Mountain,” House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers said.   

McDonald should both clarify his comments and finally do something to address the issue, Ryan said. “I don’t know how he’s going to fix it, but he needs to fix it.”  

Contact
 McPherson at lindseymcpherson@rollcall.com and follow her on Twitter @lindsemcpherson.

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