US Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald has apologized for misstating his military record that he was posted in an elite special operations division.
“I incorrectly said that I had been in special forces. That was inaccurate and I tender my deepest apology to anyone that was offended by my misstatement… I remain committed to the ongoing effort to reform VA,” McDonald said in a statement released by the Department of Veterans Affairs on Monday.
McDonald made the false claim that he had served for special forces in the military while conversing with a homeless veteran during a television appearance that was aired in January on the “CBS Evening News”.
“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. And I made the incorrect statement,” he explained in the statement.
According to the official website of Veteran Affairs, McDonald had served with the 82nd Airborne Division in the late 1970s.
The news of McDonald’s erroneous claim was first reported on The Huffington Post website.
The website in its new report on Monday said that the 82nd division is not considered as the part of special forces in military.
In a released statement on Monday, the White House said, “We take him at his word and expect that this will not impact the important work he’s doing to promote the health and well-being of our nation’s veterans.”
McDonald, a former Procter & Gamble CEO, was picked by President Barack Obama in 2014 as the secretary to the scandal-plagued Veteran Affairs. He took over his new roles last July.