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Candidate Cheney joins call for VA secretary’s ouster

By John Spina Jackson Hole Daily 

Liz Cheney called Tuesday for the resignation of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald after he compared wait-times at Disneyland to that of Veteran Administration facilities.

“When you go to Disney, do you measure the number of hours you wait in line? Or what’s important?” McDonald said Monday. “What’s important is, what’s your satisfaction with your experience?”

McDonald’s comments were in response to questions about VA not releasing data about wait-times. He said releasing that data to the public would trigger bad press and distract from the work VA was doing.

“I mean, I’ve got so many measures, if I make them all public, you’re all going to write headlines about them and they’re going to distract people from what’s important,” he said. “I don’t want to do that. I want people focused on what’s really important.”

His words spurred criticism from politicians and veterans groups. Cheney, a Jackson resident running for Wyoming’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, joined the call for McDonald’s resignation.

“President Obama should show America’s veterans the respect they deserve by demanding the immediate resignation of Secretary McDonald,” Cheney said in a statement. “Wyoming is home to more than 50,000 brave men and women who have fought and sacrificed mightily for our nation on battlefields throughout the world. Beyond being owed a debt our nation can never repay, they are entitled to the highest quality treatment from our VA Health Centers in the fastest amount of time possible.”

Before McDonald took office in 2014, a scandal broke surrounding the death of 35 veterans waiting for service at a VA facility in Phoenix. The scandal resulted in investigations by the Justice Department and the FBI that discovered negligence and falsified records.

To read the News & Guide’s full story about Liz’s call for Secretary McDonald’s resignation, click here.

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