MANCHESTER – Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Monday that while he disagrees with President Barack Obama on any number of issues, he is in complete agreement with the President’s choice of Robert McDonald as the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
Before addressing the U.S. Marine Corps 239th Birthday Luncheon in Manchester, Perry – who is seriously eyeing a run for the White House in 2016 – said, “I don’t brag on the President of the United States very often. I hope I’m very respectful about my disagreements, but this is one area where I highly respect his choice.
“Bob McDonald is a patriot. He is a very, very capable individual,” he said in response to a question posed by Kevin Landrigan of NH1 News during a gaggle with a group of members of the New Hampshire media.
Perry’s assessment came as McDonald announced a massive restructuring of the Department of Veterans Affairs as a result of the widely publicized scandal that left more than 100,000 veterans waiting for care.
According to CNN.com, McDonald has said that 35 people will fired initially and about 1,000 could follow. McDonald also intends to revamp health care services for veterans.
Perry said he spoke with McDonald in Dallas on Saturday “as we talked about: How do we improve the VA? He’s got some Texans helping him. He’s been very open about what we’ve done in Texas at the state level. I’m highly complimentary of the President for choosing Bob McDonald to be the Secretary of the VA.
“He’s run a major corporate entity in Procter and Gamble. This is a leader. He knows how to make decisions. He knows how to run a big, unwieldy entity like the VA, so if heads need to roll, let them roll.
“Whatever we do, we need to make sure that the men and women who held up their hands” to serve the nation “are taken care of. This is a national tragedy that has happened through the failure of the Veterans Administration to serve those men and women (who) sacrificially served us.”