Sarah Palin has emerged as a strong last-minute candidate for secretary of Veterans Affairs, reportedly with the backing of President-elect Donald Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon, in a race for the coveted post that Scott Brown is also fighting for.
The sudden appearance of the former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential candidate adds to a public parade of candidates being considered to manage the sprawling Department of Veterans Affairs.
“This is a titanic job. We really need to have the best possible person for the job, and I believe Sarah Palin is better fit than Scott Brown,” said Matt O’Brien, president of the Worcester Tea Party, which has backed Palin in the past and clashed with Brown.
“Frankly we had a troubled relationship with Sen. Brown,” O’Brien said. “I’m sure he has earned some credit with the Trump campaign. But we have atrociously let down our responsibilities to our veterans. I think she (Palin) would be an excellent choice.”
Palin, who like Brown was an ardent and early backer of Trump, took to Facebook yesterday in the wake of reports that she was being considered to praise the president-elect and re-share a video promoting her work for veterans.
“We should be grateful we’ll soon have a commander-in-chief who will champion our vets and honor the promises our nation made,” she wrote, linking to an ABC News story that reported Trump was weighing her as an option.
Brown, who told the Herald last month that he was “the best person” to head the VA, said yesterday he’s “comfortable” with where the Trump transition team is in making a decision.
“I’m satisfied where things are going. I assume we’ll know soon, the next … five, six, seven days,” said Brown, who met with Trump on Nov. 21 at Trump Tower in Manhattan.
“It’s not what I think. It’s what the president-elect thinks,” he added when asked of Palin. “He’s going to make a decision based on everybody’s resume and what they bring to the table. I’m available if he needs me. If he doesn’t, I’m good with that, too.”
Brown retired with the rank of colonel after roughly 35 years in the Army National Guard. Palin’s son served a tour in Iraq and her son-in-law is a Medal of Honor recipient.
Florida U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, who has served as chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, has also been mentioned as a possible candidate.
“Scott Brown has been angling for this job pretty much from the get-go. He thinks he can do it and he may be right,” said Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist who backed Trump during the presidential race.
“But you have to realize this is probably the first- or second-biggest mess in Washington. If Trump’s picks demonstrate anything, what Trump wants to do is be seen as a success. He’s going to go with a person who is best to fix the VA.”
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