SACRAMENTO – Assemblywoman Melissa A. Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, has sent a letter to U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald calling for his resignation after comparing veterans’ health care wait times to Disneyland experience.
“Words cannot begin to describe how troubling Secretary McDonald’s callous words and disregard for our nation’s finest men and women were to me, and to so many others,” said Melendez. “His initial comments, as well as his subsequent non-apology, belittle all veterans seeking the health care they have rightfully earned.”
On May 23, 2016, at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast, United States Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald compared the veterans’ health care wait times to waiting for a Disneyland ride, according to the Washington Examiner. “When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? Or what’s important? What’s important is, what’s your satisfaction with the experience? And what I would like to move to, eventually, is that kind of measure,” remarked McDonald.
“There is nothing Disney about a soldier battling PTSD while waiting for treatment. If he cannot understand how wait times and other impediments can harm a veteran and their family, then he is incapable of overseeing the VA,” said Melendez. “I am calling upon Secretary McDonald to issue a genuine and unequivocal apology and resign from his position immediately.”
Assemblywoman Melendez entered the United States Navy upon graduating high school. She attended the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, where she became a fluent Russian linguist. Melendez then became one of the first women approved by the U.S. Navy to fly aboard EP-3 reconnaissance aircraft overseas, conducting reconnaissance and intelligence gathering operations in partnership with our allies. She served her country with honor and distinction as a Russian translator for ten years during the height of the Cold War, and flew covert missions during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
Assemblywoman Melissa A. Melendez represents the 67th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Lake Elsinore, Canyon Lake, Murrieta, Menifee, Wildomar and a portion of Hemet. It also includes the Riverside County unincorporated areas of Lake Mathews, Good Hope, Nuevo, and Winchester. Follow here on twitter: @asmMelendez