Congressman calls on VA secretary to resign after controversial comments

In this FILE photo a look at a Veterans Clinic in the United States.

WASHINGTON (MEDIA GENERAL) — An Alabama Congressman is joining a growing list of officials calling on the secretary of veterans affairs to resign after controversial comments made Monday.

During a press event Monday, Secretary Bob McDonald made a comparison between Disney theme parks and veterans hospitals.

Robert McDonald
In this photo taken Feb. 25, 2016, Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald speaks in Washington. Republicans are criticizing McDonald after he compared wait times to receive VA health care to the hours people wait for rides at Disney theme parks. McDonald has told reporters on Monday, May 23, 2016, that the VA should not use wait times as a measure of success because Disney doesn’t either. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

“When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? What’s important? What’s important is: What’s your satisfaction with the experience?” Secretary McDonald said during an event with the Christian Science Monitor.

The comments were met with an immediate backlash including from some of the most high profile Republicans in Congress.

“This is not Disneyland, or Wonderland, veterans have died waiting in line, for their care, surely the secretary’s comments are not worthy of the veterans that he serves,” said Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, during a news conference Tuesday morning. By mid-afternoon both representatives and senators began to push for Secretary McDonald’s resignation.

“He should resign, and the president needs to find someone who really cares about veterans,” said Rep. Bradley Byrne, a Republican from Mobile, Alabama.

On MSNBC, Secretary McDonald attempted to clarify the comments but stopped short of apologizing. The Department of Veterans Affairs released a statement following media inquirers but did not specifically mention the Disney comments.

“The Department of Veterans Affairs is working to better serve the veterans we have the privilege of serving. This is a solemn duty that we take seriously,” said an agency spokesperson on Monday.

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