Four prominent whistleblowers are supporting Army veteran Pete Hegseth for the position of secretary of the Department of Veterans.
In a letter sent Thursday to Trump Tower in Manhattan, Brandon Coleman, Ryan Honl, Joseph Colon, and Shea Wilkes urged GOP President-elect Donald Trump to choose Hegseth, despite the inevitable opposition that will come from veterans’ organizations and federal employee union the American Federation of Government Employees.
Wilkes and Honl are former Army officers. Colon is a Navy veteran, and Coleman is a Marine Corps veteran.
Coleman, Honl, Colon and Wilkes have frequently appeared on TV and were featured in articles about waste, incompetence and poor care at their respective VA facilities. They have also faced retaliation from the administration after bringing to light serious, unaddressed issues.
“These organizations each want to keep the “status quo” and to keep lining their pockets at the expense of our nation’s heroes. This is exactly the reason Mr. Hegseth is the right choice to run the VA,” the whistleblowers wrote. “The current problems with the VA are not a funding issue, as they are a bad management issue.”
Hegseth, an Army National Guard veteran who deployed to Guantanamo Bay and Iraq, has also served as a long-time veterans’ advocate. Up until January of this year, he worked as CEO of Concerned Veterans for America, a right-leaning policy group focused on reforming the VA. One of those policies has been to empower the VA to fire bad employees, a process that has proved shockingly difficult, even against patent incompetent and corruption.
“Pete understands the root issues and challenges plaguing the Department of Veterans Affairs,” the whistleblowers noted. “Those root issues are the inability to terminate corrupt federal employees without an erroneous and lengthy process that protects wrongdoers instead of disabled veterans. Pete is not the kind of person to accept the excuses of bureaucrats and false optimism that routinely surrounds VA secretaries.”
Hegseth is right up close in the running for the position. The two top contenders seem to be Hegseth and former GOP Sen. Scott Brown.
While Hegseth has received an endorsement from these whistleblowers, Brown picked up an odd endorsement Thursday from Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
“If Scott Brown is the nominee for Veterans Affairs, I have no doubt that he would put his heart and soul into trying to help veterans,” Warren said.
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