Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald falsely claimed that he served in a military special forces unit, he admitted to the Huffington Post.
When a homeless veteran told McDonald in a conversation captured by CBS that he had served in special forces, the head of the VA replied that he had, too. The conversation aired during a CBS News story chronicling how the agency is working to house homeless veterans.
"I have no excuse,” McDonald told The Huffington Post. “I was not in special forces.”
He added that he “reacted spontaneously” and “wrongly [with] no intent in any way to describe my record as any different than it is."
McDonald, who was confirmed in July of 2014, served in the 82nd Airborne Division and completed his Army Ranger training, earning the coveted Ranger tab. Although he completed that training, he never actually served in a special forces unit.
Special forces units are considered one of the most elite assignments in the military and include the Army Rangers, Green Berets and Navy SEALS.
I have mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand, his lie was not exactly a whopper. He did serve in the 82nd Airborne -- and those guys are not exactly pansies -- and he did complete Ranger training, so he was qualified to be in a special forces unit, even if he never was. And it seemed to be just a remark in passing to a homeless vet he met on the street.
On the other hand, what if this turns out to be part of a pattern of lying? This is the guy, after all, whom we're supposed to trust to fix a system full of sleazeball bureaucrats who jerk vets around over their health care then lie about it. Boy, if you want to talk about whoppers . . .