VA Secretary Apologizes for Claiming He Served in Special Forces

“I have no excuse,” he tells the Huffington Post.

U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald speaks at the Women Veterans Career Development Forum in recognition of Veterans Day at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial November 9, 2014 in Arlington, Virginia.

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald is backtracking on an inaccurate claim that he served in the special forces, according to reports.

The Huffington Post reported Monday that McDonald's claim, made to a homeless man in a January CBS News segment about homeless veterans, was wrong. “I have no excuse,” McDonald told the website. “I was not in special forces.”

He added in a statement reported by the New York Times: “I apologize to anyone that was offended by my misstatement. ... I have great respect for those who have served our nation in Special Forces. ... They, and all veterans, deserve a Department of Veterans Affairs that provides them the care and benefits they have earned.”

The episode comes after two prominent media figures, NBC's Brian Williams and Fox's Bill O'Reilly, faced accusations of inflating the danger they faced while reporting on conflicts abroad.

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