The PJ Tatler

Obama to Nominate Former P&G Exec to Lead Veterans Affairs

President Obama will announce this afternoon that he’ll nominate the retired chairman, CEO and president of Procter & Gamble to fill the vacancy at the top of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki stepped down in the wake of the scandal over veterans allegedly dying on secret waitlists while waiting for care.

Robert McDonald, who retired from P&G a year ago, is a graduate of West Point and served as a captain in the Army for five years.

His political donations over the past year have all gone to Republicans: $1,000 each to Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), and $500 to Rep. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), who is challenging appointed Sen. John Walsh (D-Mont.) for the seat once held by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.).

Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was noncommittal to McDonald on Sunday night as word of the nomination got out.

“The VA needs significantly improved transparency and accountability and it needs an increased number of doctors, nurses and other medical staff so that all eligible veterans get high-quality health care in a timely manner,” Sanders said. “I look forward to meeting with Mr. McDonald next week in order to ascertain his views on these important issues.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who sits on the committee, said the panel “must ask tough questions to assure this nominee has the management experience and expertise necessary to drastically overhaul the VA.”

“We  need to be fully satisfied that he’ll vigorously demand and impose a new culture, with rigorous accountability, and first class services to veterans, our nation’s heroes,” Blumenthal said. “Our nation’s veterans deserve no less – management that achieves reform and results.”

Boehner called McDonald “a good man, a veteran, and a strong leader with decades of experience in the private sector.”

“With those traits, he’s the kind of person who is capable of implementing the kind of dramatic systemic change that is badly needed and long overdue at the VA,” Boehner added. “But the next VA secretary can only succeed in implementing that type of change if his boss, the president, first commits to doing whatever it takes to give our veterans the world class health care system they deserve by articulating a vision for sweeping reform.”