We weren’t the only ones who noticed that VA Chief Robert McDonald appeared to be wildly inflating his facts as to how many employees have been fired for the scandal that rocked his agency last summer.
McDonald made his first Meet the Press appearance Sunday, but was forced to use that time defending his vicious attack on our own U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman. McDonald came unglued during a Capitol Hill hearing last week, under questioning from Coffman on the VA’s performance.
“Nine hundred people have been fired since I became secretary. We’ve got 60 people that we fired who have manipulated wait times,” McDonald claimed.
Now the Washington Post has sent in their own fact-checker, who has awarded McDonald their highest ranking for fibbing — “four Pinocchios for wildly inflating his ‘firing’ statistics.”
For those of you at home keeping score, that counts as a “whooper.”
Recommending people to receive a letter about their wrongdoing is not the same thing as being fired. Recommending people to be fired is not the same thing as being fired. Employees are not fired unless they have been removed from their jobs — and as of two days before McDonald went on the air, there were eight employees who were removed for manipulating patient wait-time data. So McDonald’s statement is incorrect.
As for the 900 number McDonald threw down, the VA maintains those bureaucrats were fired for various reasons including absenteeism or doing a poor job not related to the scandal.
The Post continues:
But to McDonald’s point that he is cleaning up shop, the 900 figure lacks context. Senior executives have known problems existed there, and the 900 employees are not those executives.
The VA is the largest non-military Cabinet agency, with more than 340,000 employees as of September 2014. That means even if 900 employees were fired, they accounted for less than 0.3 percent of all VA employees. Plus, in fiscal year 2013, there were 2,247 VA employees fired in one year, which was two and half times more than McDonald’s 900 figure — and that was before a massive systemic problem was found.
We’re still waiting for that apology from McDonald and the White House, which deployed their toughest kindergarten tactic of name-calling by labeling Coffman a “pretty aggressive antagonist” in the hopes that Democrats would fall in line.
They have not.
Colorado Democrats are backing Coffman on this one, Dems on Capitol Hill are staying out of the fray, and when the Washington Post goes after a Democratic administration, they have nowhere left to hide.