Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has called for the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald after the VA head compared wait times in the nation's largest healthcare network to lines at Disneyland rides.
"When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? Or what's important?" McDonald told reporters on May 23, according to CNN. "What's important is what's your satisfaction with the experience?"
Cruz, and several other lawmakers, were infuriated by the remarks.
“Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald’s recent remarks show a fundamental lack of respect for the veterans he’s been tasked to serve,” Cruz said in a statement posted on his website May 25.
“Our nation’s veterans fought, bled, and sacrificed for the freedom of each and every American, and they deserve nothing but the best care -- delivered in a timely fashion -- once they return home. For Secretary McDonald to compare the long wait periods, during which far too many of our nation’s finest passed away, to the lines at Disney is simply unacceptable.”
Cruz added: “At this point, there can be no doubt there is a deep corruption within the VA, and we should not rest until it is rooted out, and our heroes receive the care that they earned. Secretary McDonald’s recent comments make clear that he is not the man to ensure that happens, and as a result, he should resign.”
The petition titled “Demand VA Secretary Robert McDonald’s Resignation” was posted May 25 on the website of Cruz's suspended presidential campaign. Several other Republican lawmakers voiced support for Cruz's petition, including Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, and Rep. Vern Buchanan of Florida.
McDonald defended himself against the onslaught of attacks.
“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,” he said in a statement, according to Stars and Stripes.