Will Obama Award Denis McDonough a Purple Heart? Non-veteran WH Chief of Staff Claims ‘Scars’ from VA Scandal

Guest post by Kristinn Taylor

Attempting to defend President Barack Obama from the growing scandal at the Veterans Administration that has reportedly left dozens of veterans dead from neglect, White House Chief-of-Staff Denis McDonough has repeatedly said that dealing with the scandal has left him with “scars”.

McDonough, who has not served in the military, first made the claim in an interview with CNN on Thursday:


“The fact of these deaths is an outrage to the president. He’s made that clear,” McDonough told CNN. “And you heard what General [Eric] Shinseki had to say today. He’s mad as hell about this. Nobody is more mad than the president. And I have the scars to show it, given his reaction to it as he and I have talked about it.”

McDonough repeated his claim of being ‘scarred’ by the VA scandal in an interview recorded Friday with Major Garrett of CBS News for Sunday’s broadcast of Face the Nation:

“…the President is madder than hell, and I’ve got the scars to prove it given, briefings that I’ve given the President and the conversations that he and Rick and I have had on these matters…”

Garrett asked McDonough about his claim of being scarred, but failed to note the outrage of a government bureaucrat claiming scars in a scandal involving the mistreatment of veterans who have real scars from battle and that has resulted in real deaths. Garrett pressed McDonough on Obama’s silence on the scandal in the past few weeks as revelations of mistreatment of veterans have piled up. In response McDonough blathered on with talking points.

MAJOR GARRETT: Let me ask you about the President himself, you’ve described scars that you have from the President, from his anger based on briefings you’ve given him, well what has the public heard from the President? It’s been nearly three weeks since the President has commented on this publicly and I want to take that period of time, almost three weeks, nothing from the president publicly…Where’s the president been?

DENIS McDONOUGH: The president, the president has been, an active voice for increased resources and reform at the veterans administration since he joined the veterans committee in the Senate over, 7, 8, 9 years ago and he will continue to do that.”

McDonough’s bio at the White House Web site contains no mention of military service, but he was a senior fellow at the Democratic Party front group Center for American Progress.

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