Toby Cosgrove, Cleveland Clinic CEO dropped out of the running for secretary of veterans affairs shortly after businessman Luis Quinonez declared he was withdrawing.
Proving one of the hardest positions for President-elect Donald Trump to fill, in his cabinet, is ‘The Department of Veterans Affairs’.
Quinonez has been said to have been battling cancer for the last several years and dropped out over health issues. The Trump team wanted him partly because of his experience in the health care industry and also because he’s Hispanic.
Cosgrove, the frontrunner after Quinonez, was in demand by Trump aides to take on the position, but told him that it would require a lot of commitment. Cosgrove had apparently said he wasn’t able to drop his obligations at the Cleveland Clinic and devote his full attention to running the VA.
The top candidates include Pete Hegseth, former CEO of Concerned Veterans for America, and former GOP Senator Scott Brown are left. Both had already been listed as top candidates a couple of weeks ago and are back at the top of the list.
Navy Admiral Michelle Howard is also under consideration but believed to be a long-shot.
Numerous veterans’ groups had pushed for Trump to consider keeping current VA Secretary Robert McDonald. Trump officials have dismissed that to extreme policy differences.
An update is expected by transition officials on Tuesday.
It’s unlikely that one would be ready to take office right after Trump is sworn in, if Trump doesn’t pick a candidate soon, as the Senate confirmation process takes a few weeks.