Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald has just learned that words matter.
They matter a lot.
He recently tossed out a seemingly flippant comment about wait times at veterans medical clinics, comparing them to the wait times at Disneyland.
According to NBC News: “The days to an appointment is really not what we should be measuring. What we should be measuring is the veterans’ satisfaction,” McDonald had told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington on Monday. “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?”
OK, Mr. Secretary, let’s not go there.
A lot of veterans take their medical care quite seriously. Indeed, McDonald holds his current job because his predecessor, Eric Shinseki, was forced to resign because of issues relating to wait times and allegations that hospital officials were cooking the records to reflect that the wait times at clinics weren’t as long as had been reported.
McDonald also said: “If I was misunderstood, if I said the wrong thing, I’m glad that I have the opportunity to correct it,” he told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. “I’m only focused on one thing, and that’s better caring for veterans. That’s my job, that’s why I’m here.”
This veteran accepts your correction, Mr. Secretary.
Just take greater care when discussing these things in public. A lot of veterans are listening carefully.