Carney outdid himself today.
At the White House briefing today, Press Secretary Jay Carney repeatedly suggested the American Legion had praised the Department of Veterans Affairs for the resignation Friday of top VA health official Dr. Robert Petzel.
It turns out, however, the American legion had issued a statement dismissing the resignation as “business as usual.”
Here’s what Carney said at the White House briefing: “The American Legion said that the group looks at Petzel’s resignation as a, quote, step towards addressing the leadership problem at the VA. So I think that undercuts the assertion that that is not a meaningful development.”
Carney went on to cite the American Legion nine times during the briefing.
In fact, the American Legion put out a statement on Friday about Dr. Petzel’s resignation saying almost exactly the opposite of what Carney suggested.
“This move by VA is not a corrective action, but a continuation of business as usual,” American Legion National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger said in a statement. “Dr. Petzel was already scheduled to retire this year, so his resignation now really won’t make that much of a difference.”
The statement — which can be found on the at the top of the American Legion’s website — goes on to say the real problem is at the top of VA. “Secretary [Eric] Shinseki and Under Secretary [Allison] Hickey remain on the job. They are both part of VA’s leadership problem, and we want them to resign as soon as possible.”