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McCain demands Clinton apologize for VA remarks

McCain demands Clinton apologize for VA remarks
© Greg Nash

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump fights for battleground Arizona Flake cuts ad for Biden: 'Character' matters Obama book excerpt: 'Hard to deny my overconfidence' during early health care discussions MORE (R-Ariz.) is demanding that Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillary Clinton responds to Chrissy Teigen tweet: 'I love you back' Trump fights for battleground Arizona Biden leads Trump by 12 in new national poll MORE apologize for saying that delays in patients receiving treatment at Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals are not "as widespread" as thought.

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McCain, a Navy veteran who was a prisoner of war for more than five years in Vietnam, called the former secretary of State’s comments “disgraceful” and accused her of "downplaying" the VA scandal over long patient wait times.

“Hillary Clinton’s remarks downplaying the significance of the scandal in which veterans died awaiting care at the VA hospitals in Phoenix and across our nation while corrupt bureaucrats collected bonuses are disgraceful, and show a total lack of appreciation for the crisis facing veterans’ health care today,” McCain said in a statement on Monday.

“Secretary Clinton owes an apology to the families of the veterans who lost their loved ones due to mismanagement and corruption in the federal government.”

Clinton said protracted delays at VA hospitals have not “been as widespread as it has been made out to be” on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” on Friday.

The former first lady also accused Republicans of wanting VA hospitals to “fail” as part of an “ideological agenda” to privatize the clinics.

An inspector general report sparked national outrage last year when it found that as many as 40 veterans died while waiting for care at a facility in Phoenix, which had an average wait time of 115 days for an initial appointment.

A subsequent report by the agency’s inspector general described the problem as “systemic.”