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Arizona Congresswoman Sinema criticizes VA director’s wait time comments

Arizona Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema called for Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald to apologize following his remarks about wait times. (KTAR File Photo)

Arizona Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema suggested Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald quickly apologize following remarks that compared the controversial wait times at the VA with lines at Disneyland.

“When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? Or what’s important?” McDonald said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington. “What’s important is what’s your satisfaction with the experience.”

Sinema encouraged a quick apology from McDonald, and it seems the VA chief is already regretting his remarks.

“It was never my intention to suggest that I don’t take our mission of serving veterans very seriously,” McDonald said in a written statement. “If my comments Monday led any veterans to believe that I, or the dedicated workforce I am privileged to lead, don’t take that noble mission seriously, I deeply regret that. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

“These comments are exactly why veterans and their families and the public have lost faith in the VA,” said Sinema. “It’s offensive, veterans are angry, they are frustrated and they’re just fed up. And this comparison is absolutely inappropriate.”

Sinema hopes the director stands up to fix this problem.

“Veterans have literally died around this country because of these wait times,” she said. “And a response like this is not only belittling to those families, it more importantly doesn’t help solve the problem.”

Veterans just want this fixed, she said.

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