VA Secretary Refuses to Apologize to Disney for Lying about Disney

VA Secretary Bob McDonald is not going to let little things like facts, or the deaths of people entrusted to his care get in the way of a good political line. As we noted yesterday, McDonald blew off concerns that people were dying waiting for care at VA Hospitals with a line about how Disney doesn’t measure wait times when they consider when they have delivered a successful experience.


Disney responded by pointing out that, in addition to being a stupid point that is insensitive to those who have died while waiting in line, it is factually untrue – they do, in fact, measure wait times and are aggressively working on ways to both reduce wait time and improve the experience for those who ARE forced to wait:

“What the Secretary said was factually untrue. We take wait times very seriously. We continually push the boundaries to give our guests the best experience possible. A large team of highly trained industrial engineers are tasked with improving our guest’s experiences, from transportation, to guest flow, to ride comfort and certainly wait times.

One of the things we take great pride in is if you have a wait time at our parks, your wait is enjoyable. We call this the Disney Difference. We recently remodeled the Dumbo ride, doubling its size and adding a Big Top area for families waiting for the ride. This area is a huge, interactive, air conditioned area for children to play in and where adults can relax with a buzzer they receive that notifies them when their spot is ready on the ride.

If you wait at the Haunted Mansion there are musical tombstones that will sing to you. There is a flowing honey wall at the Winnie the Poo ride. We designed animated crabs for The Little Mermaid waiting area which will interact with you and play games while you wait.

We take every facet of the guest experience very seriously. If you have to wait, you should have fun while doing it.”


When asked today whether he intended to apologize for his remarks (which were, to review the bidding, a) insensitive, b) factually untrue and c) irrelevant, even if they were true), McDonald showed that tone deafness is apparently something medical science has not figured out how to cure:

Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald is not apologizing for controversial comments he made Tuesday comparing veterans health care wait times to lines at Disneyland.
During an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Tuesday, McDonald refused take back his comments that have prompted some GOP lawmakers to call for his resignation. Instead, he tried to clarify what he meant, arguing again that the VA should be evaluated by more than wait times.

“Look, we get it. Wait times are important. There’s no question wait times are important, but they aren’t the only measure of the veteran experience,” McDonald said. “If I was misunderstood or if I said the wrong thing, I’m glad I have the opportunity to correct it.”

Translation: if you rubes misunderstood me, that’s on you – I’m making it clear, it’s not just wait times, even though people are dying because of wait times. And I’m not apologizing to them either.



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