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Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald falsely claimed that he served in a military special forces unit, he admitted to the Huffington Post.

When a homeless veteran told McDonald in a conversation captured by CBS that he had served in special forces, the head of the VA replied that he had, too. The conversation aired during a CBS News story chronicling how the agency is working to house homeless veterans. 

{mosads}“I have no excuse,” McDonald told The Huffington Post. “I was not in special forces.” 

He added that he “reacted spontaneously” and “wrongly [with] no intent in any way to describe my record as any different than it is.”

McDonald, who was confirmed in July of 2014, served in the 82nd Airborne Division and completed his Army Ranger training, earning the coveted Ranger tab. Although he completed that training, he never actually served in a special forces unit.

Special forces units are considered one of the most elite assignments in the military and include the Army Rangers, Green Berets and Navy SEALS.

“Secretary McDonald has apologized for the misstatement and noted that he never intended to misrepresent his military service,” the White House said in a statement provided to The Huffington Post.

“We take him at his word and expect that this will not impact the important work he’s doing to promote the health and well-being of our nation’s veterans.”

The flap comes just weeks after NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams admitted that he lied about flying in a helicopter shot by enemy forces while reporting in Iraq.


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