White House vetting at least three candidates for VA secretary: report

White House vetting at least three candidates for VA secretary: report
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The White House is reportedly currently considering three candidates to run the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) after the former nominee, Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, pulled his nomination last week.

White House aides met with former Florida Rep. Jeff MillerJefferson (Jeff) Bingham MillerWe should repeal the medical device tax on veterans Slashing state funding for veterans will not help end the suicide epidemic The benefit of electing veterans is more bipartisan lawmaking MORE (R) on Wednesday, The Associated Press reported on Wednesday. Miller once led the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

On Thursday, staffers will meet with Ron Nicol, who helped manage the president's transition and is currently a senior adviser at The Boston Consulting Group, according to the AP.

And acting VA Secretary Robert Wilkie is also being considered for the top post. Wilkie is reportedly well regarded by White House staff, including chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE and Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisWatchdog: Former Pentagon spokeswoman misused staff for personal errands Senate panel advances Pentagon chief, Joint Chiefs chairman nominees The Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment MORE.

According to officials interviewed by the AP, none of the potential candidates have yet been scheduled to meet with President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump hits media over 'send her back' coverage Media cried wolf: Calling every Republican a racist lost its bite Rubio criticizes reporters, Democrat for racism accusations against McCain MORE.

After Jackson’s nomination led to allegations of a hostile work environment and drinking on the job, Trump is likely to want to ensure his nominee has a good record to prevent embarrassment.

Jackson, whom Trump picked to replace former VA chief David ShulkinDavid Jonathon ShulkinPress: Acosta, latest to walk the plank Senior Trump administration official to leave post next week Trump sent policy pitch from Mar-a-Lago member to VA secretary: report MORE, withdrew his nomination last week after reported workplace infractions, including improperly handing out prescription medication.

The president wants someone who has a stronger political background so they can better handle a tough confirmation in the Senate, the AP reported.

Trump has blamed Jackson's withdrawal on Democratic Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterPoll: McConnell is most unpopular senator Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi looks to squash fight with progressives MORE (Mont.), the ranking member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, who is facing a tough reelection fight this November.

Trump has called for Tester to resign after he revealed the allegations against Jackson, but VA panel Chairman Johnny IsaksonJohn (Johnny) Hardy IsaksonGeorgia senator hospitalized after fall Senate GOP raises concerns about White House stopgap plan to avoid shutdown VA chief pressed on efforts to prevent veteran suicides MORE (R-Ga.) has come to Tester's defense, saying the committee was only doing its job.

“Part of the allegations made in one of the affidavits was verified by [CNN],” Isakson said. “I did my job and every senator has the responsibility, if they’re presented with accusations, to try and seek the truth. And that exonerates everybody who seeks the truth.”