VA Secretary Under Fire After Losing His Cool In Congress

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald exploded while giving testimony to the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee on Wednesday after reacting to heated questions from Republican Rep. Mike Coffman, saying to the 22-year Marine Corps veteran, “I’ve run a large company, sir. What have you done?”

Now, veteran’s groups are calling for former Procter & Gamble CEO McDonald to apologize after Wednesday’s outburst, The Blaze reports.

“While it isn’t exactly rare to see a cabinet-level officer face tough questions while testifying before Congress, the disrespectful, combative and accusatory tone Secretary McDonald took with Rep. Coffman today was out of line, inexcusable and in my view requires a formal apology,” said Pete Hegseth, CEO of Concerned Veterans for America.

Coffman, a business owner, has served in both Iraq wars and is the only member of Congress to have done so. On Wednesday, the two clashed over who was to blame for the bungling and incompetence involved in building the VA hospital in Denver, which has spiraled out of control. (RELATED: VA Official Embarrassed At Denver Hospital Mismanagement, But VA Will Ask For More Funds)

“I’ve been here six months,” McDonald said at the hearing to Coffman. “You’ve been here longer than I have. If there’s a problem in Denver, you own it more than I do.”

“I gotta tell you, I think the public relations are great today but there’s no substance,” Coffman shot back.

Currently, the hospital is only around 50 percent complete. But VA official Glenn Haggstrom, who is charge of the project, has received tens of thousands of dollars in bonus money. And Coffman has about had it with delays, obfuscation and endless bonuses.

“I don’t think [change] is going to happen, but I hope it does,” Coffman said. In the meantime, the Denver Post is reporting that the VA has paid contractor Kiewit-Turner $157 million dollars to resume construction.

The rest of the Denver VA system is under similar scrutiny. Director Lynette Roff of Denver’s VA Medical Center has recently announced her resignation after admitting to knowledge of a secret patient waiting list—but only after an anonymous whistleblower came out to 9News in Colorado. After the encounter, Coffman wrote up a Facebook post restating his commitment to challenging the VA.

“I’ve never been a shill for inept bureaucrats who allowed American heroes to die on a medical waiting list while waiting for medical service. This is the most arrogant administration in our lifetime. Most would apologize for a scandal committed against our military service men and women. This administration is seemingly incapable of feeling shame,” he wrote.

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