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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 MillerThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden wins Arizona, confers with Dem leaders; Trump tweets It's time to focus on the needs of minority veterans Over 500 clients hired Trump-connected lobbyists so far in 2020 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.

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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 MattisThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - GOP angst in Georgia; confirmation fight looms Biden under pressure to remove Trump transgender military ban quickly Progressive House Democrats urge Biden against Defense chief with contractor ties MORE.

According to officials interviewed by the AP, none of the potential candidates have yet been scheduled to meet with President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts 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 ShulkinVA inspector general says former top official steered M contract to friend Schumer demands answers in use of unproven coronavirus drug on veterans Former Trump VA secretary says staffer found plans to replace him in department copier 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) TesterOvernight Defense: Trump loyalist to lead Pentagon transition | Democrats ask VA for vaccine distribution plan | Biden to get classified intel reports Senate Democrats press VA for vaccine distribution plan President is wild card as shutdown fears grow 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 IsaksonJohnny IsaksonCollins urges voters to turn out in Georgia runoffs Ossoff, Warnock to knock on doors in runoff campaigns Democrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff 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.”