With Adm. Ronny Jackson’s decision to remove his name from consideration as the next secretary of Veterans Affairs, the Trump administration has had to return to the drawing board to find a replacement, and interest groups and lawmakers are making suggestions.
At a news conference Friday, Trump said he had a range of candidates to choose from.
"I have many people who want the position, if you can believe it, with all this being said," he asserted, alluding to allegations against Jackson about unethical behavior on the job. Trump also called Jackson an "American hero."
While he suggested today that he had not yet narrowed down the list to one candidate, the president said Thursday that he already has someone in mind who has “political capability” – different from the career military physician Jackson.
“Our veterans are simply looking for a competent, proven and dynamic leader with integrity that can lead our nation forward out of this storm of darkness and into a brighter future,” IAVA CEO and founder Paul Rieckhoff said in a statement.
Competence was also a quality emphasized by American Legion national commander Denise Rohan.
“We believe [the VA] is entirely manageable and effective when staffed with motivated, experienced and competent people. Our veterans deserve a properly led, efficient and transparent VA that delivers on the American people’s promises,” she said.
So who fits the bill?
At least one member of the Senate Veterans Affairs committee, who will be responsible for holding the confirmation hearing for the next nominee, suggested the acting secretary, Robert Wilkie, should take over. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., said Wilkie “knows the situation” and could complete the confirmation process in relatively short order given his current position.
Cassidy, himself a physician, also suggested Delos “Toby” Cosgrove, who until recently was the president and CEO of the Cleveland Clinic.
The White House might also circle back to some of the candidates it was considering before Trump nominated Jackson, like Pete Hegseth, a former military officer and former CEO of the conservative Concerned Veterans of America.
ABC's Katherine Faulders contributed to this report.