Administration

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 Miller (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.

{mosads}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 Kelly and Defense Secretary James Mattis.

According to officials interviewed by the AP, none of the potential candidates have yet been scheduled to meet with President Trump.

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 Shulkin, 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 Tester (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 Isakson (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.”

Tags David Shulkin Donald Trump Donald Trump James Mattis Jeff Miller Jeff Miller John Kelly Johnny Isakson Jon Tester Rick Dearborn Robert Wilkie ronny jackson
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