The exchange with the homeless man was part of a report about an effort to find military veterans among the homeless that aired on CBS News on Jan. 30.
"While I was in Los Angeles, engaging a homeless individual to determine his Veteran status, I asked the man where he had served in the military," McDonald said in a statement today. "He responded that he had served in special forces. I incorrectly stated that I had been in special forces. That was inaccurate and I apologize to anyone that was offended by my misstatement.
"I have great respect for those who have served our nation in special forces," McDonald added. "They, and all Veterans, deserve a Department of Veterans Affairs that provides them the care and benefits they have earned. I remain committed to continuing our progress to improve VA services and our ongoing effort to reform VA for the long-term."
He earned the Ranger tab, the Expert Infantryman Badge and Senior Parachutist wings, the VA added, noting that McDonald, who retired as a captain, was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal after leaving the service.