Just over three weeks ago, Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald joined us on AirTalk to describe the end of a legal battle over use of the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs facility.
Later that day, McDonald was in Downtown LA taking part in the homeless census. News media surrounded him, including a CBS camera crew. CBS captured an exchange between a homeless man on the street and Secretary McDonald in which McDonald claimed to have been in Special Forces.
But it turned out McDonald wasn't in Special Operations, though he completed the Army Ranger training program.
Yesterday, the VA released a statement from Secretary McDonald. It read, "While I was in Los Angeles, engaging a homeless individual to determine his veteran status, I asked the man where he had served in the military. He responded that he had served in special forces. I incorrectly stated that I had been in special forces. That was inaccurate and I apologize to anyone that was offended by my misstatement."
Was this was a serious effort to deceive, or an offhanded attempt to bond with the man that went awry? Does this compare with the Stolen Valor incidents where people wear unearned military decorations?