FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: John Hoellwarth
National Communications Director
AMVETS (American Veterans)
Does President Trump’s Strong Consideration of Miller for VA Secretary Signal He’s Listening to Vet Groups After All?
AMVETS National Headquarters, April 27, 2018 – Shortly after White House physician, Admiral Ronny Jackson, withdrew his name from consideration to replace Dr. David Shulkin as VA Secretary, a face and name familiar to the veteran community appeared as the leading contender for the post. According to the Washington Examiner in an April 28, 2018 article, former-Congressman Jeff Miller, who served as chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee for several years, has reportedly emerged as President Donald Trump’s possible top choice.
This follows recent calls by AMVETS Executive Director Joe Chenelly for the White House to partner with nonpartisan veterans groups to discuss the characteristics and qualifications a secretary should possess. Chenelly implored the president in a tweet yesterday “to speak with outside stakeholders before making his next nomination.” Shortly after, White House sources told the Washington Examiner that President Trump is now eyeing Miller for the job. It is unclear whether Trump was directly moved by the appeal; however, his strong consideration of Miller would satisfy past concerns regarding a nominee’s lack of experience and knowledge of the VA. Miller, while not a veteran himself, was regarded by many veteran advocates as a champion for veterans, particularly in the areas of healthcare access and accountability, while serving as committee chairman.
“President Trump is strongly considering a candidate in Mr. Miller who couldn’t be more familiar to us in terms of his views on the VA, the privatization question, and his areas of greatest concern within the agency,” said Chenelly. “Questions about his views as of late must be further answered, but he is the proverbial ‘devil we know.’ It appears the president has finally placed a higher premium on relevant experience this time around, something AMVETS has called for since former VA Secretary David Shulkin’s untimely dismissal.”
Dr. David Shulkin was removed from the post after reports of unethical activity, Inspector General investigations, and charges of an inside conspiracy to undermine his efforts to run the agency reportedly became too big of a distraction for President Trump. After a subsequent two-week effort to place Dr. Jackson in the job, those efforts flamed out with Jackson’s decision to remove himself from consideration amid controversy.
“We know that the president gets his information from many sources. If he did indeed listen to veteran service organizations to arrive at the decision to strongly consider Mr. Miller, I hope it continues,” said Chenelly. “AMVETS will continue to ensure that veterans are heard, especially when it involves major decisions that could impact their lives. His choice of VA secretary is one such decision.”
AMVETS is the nation’s most inclusive Congressionally-chartered veterans service organization. It is open to and fights for all veterans who served honorably, including reservists & guardsmen. AMVETS has been a nonpartisan advocate for veterans and their families for more than 70 years. amvets.org