VA Secretary Contenders

New Years Purge – Top VA Secretary Contenders Drop Out

VA Secretary Contenders

Veterans celebrate the New Year as two of the top candidates for VA Secretary have dropped out of the running during the holiday season.

While America celebrated the holidays, the two main candidates to succeed VA Secretary Robert McDonald dropped out of contention: Luis Quinonez and Toby Cosgrove.

Top VA Secretary Contenders – Drop-Outs

Luis Quinonez, a businessman, withdrew from consideration on Saturday. Quinonez is a Guatemalan immigrant who served in the Marine Corps and Naval Reserves who heads MAQ Diversified. That company is a medical staffing company operating in multiple states.

On Sunday, Toby Cosgrove, CEO of Cleveland Clinic, also withdrew his name from consideration. Cosgrove has run the Cleveland Clinic for the past decade and served as a flight surgeon in the US Air Force in Vietnam.

Both men were considered the top contenders for the position. However, they both withdrew after President-elect Donald Trump made it know that he expects considerable commitment to fix the agency. Neither individual was up for the task.

Quinonez is reportedly battling with cancer and cited health reasons for withdrawing. Cosgrove said his commitments at Cleveland Clinic are too onerous to allow taking on the task of reforming VA.

According to The Daily Caller, this leaves only three possible replacements for McDonald to reform the agency:

  • Former Senator Scott Brown
  • Former CV4A CEO Pete Hegseth
  • Navy Admiral Michelle Howard

If we do not have a choice for VA Secretary next week, there is a chance McDonald will remain at the helm by default. While this is not my top scenario, it certainly looks more likely that our dinosaur Veteran Service Organizations will get their wish, after all.


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  1. Breaking News, Butthurt snowflakes protesting President Elect Trump’s pick for top lawyer, Jeff Sessions, and at Session’s office, he had the pres. of the NAACP arrested….the swamp is starting to drain:

    “A sit-in Tuesday night at the office of Sen. Jeff Sessions by the president of the NAACP and other demonstrators resulted in several people being handcuffed and escorted into a police van, according to a live social media broadcast.

    The NAACP said via Twitter Tuesday night that president Cornell William Brooks and youth and college director Stephen Green were arrested.

    The Mobile Police Department said it planned to release a statement via its website.

    Brooks was among 10 to 20 other members of the civil rights organization who began staging the sit-in earlier Tuesday at the Mobile, Ala. office of Sessions, Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general. Earlier, Brooks said the group was prepared to be arrested as it requested Sessions, a Republican, withdraw from the selection process for the nation’s top prosecutor.]”

  2. The “Wall” will be built. This just out from; “The Alex Jones Show”, Margaret Hill reporting.

    “Obama’s Open Borders Closing: Trump’s Wall Takes Shape”

    Jan 3, 2017 (1:51 minutes long)
    The Trump transition team wants Obama’s records on border security!
    If y’all are unaware, The monies to build the wall was allocated back around 2008 or 2009! There was even a drawing of it.

    1. McCain on border security and Arizona: “what wall, there’s a problem?” (resumes nap…) Meanwhile, he’s trying to play the stripe he has on his back that’s actually Democrat and bring-up this fuss about Russian hacking, and I am at a point that I think he just likes to hear himself drone on. My prediction: McCain and possibly other Dino Republicans will either change parties eventually from built-up chronic cases of Trumphobia, and they will either go Independent or even Democrat.

      “The owls are not what they seem”–David Lynch, “Twin Peaks”.

      1. Maybe the dinos will change parties. More likely Trump will change party while in office to the American party.

      2. @namnibor,
        “Songbird” McCain should be worried. As should many in Congress who’ve, fraudulently, gotten “RICHER” off the backs of the taxpayers.
        I do believe Trump’s pick for Attorney General, Rep. Jeff Sessions, is going to be VERY busy come 21 Jan. 2017!
        I believe, as does many of my friends, there’s going to be lots of indictments coming.
        The “Waste, Fraud and Abuse”, plus all the criminal activities done by a multitude of ‘elected and appointed officials’, the “Grand Jurors” will be helping drain the swamp!
        We’ve just got to wait and see!!!!

      3. @namnibor,
        Here’s a historical fact.
        Obama refuses to go to South Tucson. As a matter of fact, he refuses to travel to South Arizona. Reason; too violent!
        (BTW, President Elect Trump visited all across the southern part of Arizona! His security detail was having a royal fit!)
        That could be, and probably is, the same reason why “SONGBIRD” McCain won’t travel into the southern part of Arizona. He’s just like “Kowardly Kerry”!
        Another historical fact, brother. Did you know “Kowardly Kerry” received a “less than Honorable Discharge” from the Navy. It was changed, he had to apply for the Honorable Discharge, due to President Carter’s amnesty for all the Protesters of the Vietnam War!
        Reason: Kerry went to France to help garner a peaceful end to the Vietnam War. In direct violation of his orders from his naval command! I met people who knew him. Knew what he did. They don’t respect him one fucking bit!

        I don’t respect either of those posers. Hell, brother, I don’t respect hardly anyone in politics today. Doesn’t matter if it’s city, county, state or federal. They’re only in it to sponge off the taxpayers. Hell, I’ll bet 90% of all politicians never held a real job in their life!

        I had a “long time brother” ask me once, quote: “Are you prejudice?”
        My answer was quick and straight up!
        Namnibor, It doesn’t matter where one is from or what ‘color’ one is.
        If they’re an asshole, I guess that makes me prejudice because I don’t like or respect them!

  3. Here’s some “BREAKING” news.
    from “The Connors Report”
    “Breaking: Look at what Trump Did With His Pen Obama! He Changed America With An Autograph”

    Jan 3, 2017
    (2:09 minutes)

    from: “The Horn”
    “[Breaking] Trump SLAMS Corruption, GOP Backs Off”

    Jan 3, 2017
    By staff writers

    1. Here’s another article, video, out from;
      “Political Madness”!
      It’s about Malia Obama and “food stamp fraud”! Seems she didn’t report her $6 million dollar account to the Massachusetts University she received a scholarship for.
      So, she applied for food stamps!
      “Barack Obama’s Daughter Charged With Food Stamp Fraud”
      Jan 3, 2017. (2:05 minutes long)

      Question: “How did an 18 year old manage to accumulate $6 million dollars by being a president’s daughter?”
      Lots of unanswered questions here!!!!!!
      Of course, this is assuming this article is factual!

      1. Sounds fake. Why did you even post it? What is this site becoming, the National Enquirer?

      2. @Rosebud,
        As I stated;
        “… assuming this article is factual!”
        It came from a reputable news source. Yet, even these sources are dupped sometimes!

  4. Watched a lot of football this week. Saw the VSO commercials, more than I wanted. Noticed that they began, about the same time I was beginning to believe, because of this site, that President Elect Trump could do the job he said he would. No trust, just hope. About your art today; should be some bodies laying around, and a couple running away.

    1. I noticed that as well. Those bastards have the $$$ to beg for membership (dues), while obstructing reform in the VA and remaining happy dinosaur hungry hippos reaping the benefits of being lamprey to Vets.

      Notice the actual “VA” does not run such commercials? No VA “Suicide Prevention” commercials, nothing that I think a VA should be doing. The VA’s own Public Affairs must utilize all it’s millions to counter Veteran Suicides from reaching news and all fraud from within the meat grinder.

      Yeah, those commercials gave me the urge to defecate each time. They usually ran on the coat tails of a Military Branch commercial ad….but nothing from VA. Kinda gives the impression the VSO’s ARE the VA by proxy or pocketbook. Hm-m-m-m-m?

      1. Interesting. I didn’t see the commercials, but I saw a headline about the VFW that appeared to be dwindling away because they were not inviting enough.

        This reminds me of just before and after the first Gulf War. News articles about VSOs scrambling for membership because their WWII members were dying so fast.
        At some point, I believe the VFW needed an act of Congress to allow it designate those who served in Korea to be considered allowable members under their charter.
        After the Gulf War, there was a push for new members which then quieted down.

        What VSOs need to be asking themselves is, if after 15 years of war they are still scrambling for members, what is it about their organization that veterans do not like.

        Perhaps if they stopped kissing VA ass and actually did what their charters called for, there wouldn’t be a membership problem.

      2. DAV were the main prevalence, but there were other VSO’s as well. DAV stands out because it was quite often, and almost always right after a very great Navy produced recruiting ads.

  5. Seymore, you think we’ve seen the last of the Koch Brothers? Wait until you’ve read this article from “”!
    It’s going to be a rocky road for the Koch’s. Especially after what happened down here in Florida on December 30th.

    “Kicking Money Out Of Politics: Trump Boots Koch Brothers From Golf Course”

    by Katie McHugh

    You’re going to love it!

  6. TO ALL VETS IF VA DC HQ @ AFHE UNION CONTRACTS ARE NOT DECLARED A TOTAL FEDRRAL RICO CRIME RACKET WAIT FOR IT NOTING WILL CHANGE WHAT SAY YOU POTUS TRUMPER ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? SHUT THE VA DC HQ ASAP ?????????????????????????????

    1. @VAISLYING – Does “” have anything in common with ya? Thanks!

  7. I believe he’s having trouble finding someone, not only because of all the reasons posted in today’s comments. But, plus, as someone pointed out, the AFGE and the many VSO’s!
    Until he finds someone who will not be intimidated by the union or these VSO’s, his ‘pick’ will not be made public.
    I also have the belief, Mr. Trump will have to do whatever is necessary to dismantle the strangle hold of the union. As was the case by President Reagan back in the day with the air traffic controllers union!

    Looks like “Ford” is NOT going to build that $1.8 BILLION dollar factory in Mexico. Instead, they’re going to “…expand the factory in Detroit…” by “…expanding it…”! That cost will only be “…$700 million dollars…”! Thereby, FORD is already saving $1.1 BILLION!
    I heard this on “The Herman Cain Show” this morning. Backed up by ‘Forbes Magazine’ and other news sources!
    How’s that for keeping jobs in America. And, generating more jobs BEFORE Trump is inaugurated!

    1. Trump has been more presidential before even being inaugurated then Obama has been while he is president.

      1. @Seymore,
        The “Reagan Report” spins Fords auto plant differently.
        He says only $1.6 billion. No mention of expanding. And, it won’t be in Detroit, it’ll be in another Michigan city.
        No matter how one spins this. It’s still bringing and keeping jobs here!

    2. @Seymore – Lets see if ABC, CBS, or NBC mentions this on the fake evening news. Those hypocrites. Oh, did I mention these media in order of their influential power to increase the affects of “dumbing down American.? Geeish!

  8. Hey Ben,
    Sign me up to run the VA.
    Seriously, I would surround myself with “ASS KICKING” Marine’s
    and personally fire everyone that needs to go.
    Unions… What unions?
    Ronald Reagan Fired the Air Traffic controller’s did he not ?
    One more thing. No one in the VA gets a bonus. NO ONE !!!!!!
    That money belong to will go to our Veteran’s.
    Semper Fi,
    Col. Whit

    1. Hey, brother, can you use some old Airborne Brigade soldiers. I’d volunteer for that job!

  9. I am not surprised that either dropped out of the running…the first because of health, which I believe, and the second because of the time needed, and the inability to run two clinics at once.
    I suspect Cosgrove also figured his empire would take a serious PR hit if, as SecVA, he caught a lot of bad PR for ongoing scandals. I get the sense the media is waiting to pounce on whoever he selects.

    As for the remaining 3…we shall see.

    As for McDonald remaining, I think that will only happen until Trump picks what he thinks is the right person.

    Look at the timeline. The VSOs and McDonald pushed hard for him to remain and the status quo a couple weeks ago. If Trump would have decided to select him, he would have announced it a few days after that push, or a week at most. Since that has not happened, that suggests to me that McDonald is out as soon as a pick is made.

    Why waste time and political capital if he sticks with a disaster to appease VSOs?

    Trump could also be having a seriously tough time finding someone who could actually handle cleaning up such a huge mess. No matter who he selects, they will have to surround themselves with many people to help.

    On another topic, Ben, I hope you update us on that veteran suicide in Albuquerque. 2 weeks later and still no news on that other than what you posted, which is likely what the bastards at the VA wanted all along…run the clock until the media moves on.

      1. Benjamin Krause, JD — I say I believe there is lots going on behind the scenes.
        And too, I say, “Lord help all of us veterans”. If Trump cannot hire a replacement, the situation will be more of the same. No accountability and the list goes on.
        Benjamin, I am running out of words because I believe the veterans will be stepped on again and pushed down lower than the bottom. I am already losing faith because of the liberals and democrats. They are a bunch of crybabies and sore losers. They are trying their best to block and obstruct Mr. Trump President-Elect. Did the Republicans obstruct Mr. Obama back in 2008? No, they did not.
        The VA needs to be reformed. This is the bottom line. If it can’t be, then, shut it down. Then, let veterans just go to private doctors.

  10. I just hope no matter whom they pick, Donald Trump tells him flat out, if within a certain time limit, you have not fired bad employees you will be out.

    This new leader must not go in wanting to make Friends!. These people will butter him up and try and get dirt on him and they will blackmail him and make him in affective and he will end up like ALL the others, A glorified Hand shaker and metal pinner.

    Main thing people must be held Accountable for their actions and if are unable to do the job, those employees must be released with someone new, no matter how many it takes. Give them a Grace period and if not up to par, your gone.

    No matter whom it is, we veterans need to write to him and tell them how the VA is using the Disruptive committee to retaliate against Veterans. Really we deserve so much better, than having to worry if we are not feeling good and make a remark to a VA employee and end up being punished. Just because they can.

    They must be reminded they are not there for each other , they are there for on e reason and one reason only to CARE for Veterans and if its found that any employee reports a Veteran for anything, that veteran must have a legal way to fight back.

    Better yet, Disband the Committee and make it illegal to Punish any veteran, this must be done through our legal system, where the employees must furnish proof of any allegations and the veterans be able to seek council. If this were done the Reporting would become Neal, as employees will be afraid to punish any veteran by using Hearsay as evidence.

    Any employee falsely accusing a veteran of anything, would be Grounds to be fired !

  11. Mr. Karuse, I’m curious, did you ever receive the phone call from Trump? If I had to guess the answer is a resounding NO.
    He seems to be preoccupied talking to everyone in the world that can make him money, God help us!

  12. Personally I believe there is a lot more going on behind the seen with Trump’s pick for Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Already we know that his transition team is working toward allowing all Veterans to choose private health care over VA health care based on the Veterans real choice.

    We also know that Trump considers the post to be one of the most important postings in his cabinet. the way it looks to me is that Trump is currently handling the transition team and their direction in the changes that are definitely coming to the VA.

    As for McDonald, Gibson and the VAIG, they all need to hand in their resignation on the 20th. Else they all will face a number of investigations for actions that were taken against Veterans during their watch. With the Veterans Administration known to be the most corrupt Government Agency it is likely the best place to start draining the swamp.

    As for Trump not showing his hand on who he is going to pick it prevents all the chatter from the bogus Veterans Service Organizations and all the ass clowns in congress who want to protect VA facilities in their states while turning their backs on Veterans.

    1. Good read on the situation. Trump has probably made the choice some time back, but get as much mileage out of this as he can, he’s in his celebrity mode on the non-story of the year.
      At first blush Pete Hegseth impress’s me as a typical Republican Chicken Hawk poser. Most of his Resume falls apart when you examine it. There was a episode of The Buchanan Report about a VA Whistle Blower and CVA and Hegseth were in the mix. I don’t see any evidence that he or CVA have done anything for vets that would entitle him for the head of the VA.
      This is a test of Trump Money Vs Koch Bro’s money. The Koch’s have a MUCH bigger stack of money than Trump. Size does matter. We will see ….

      1. The Koch brothers are real dicks and have no place dabbling with Veteran’s Affairs or allowing Koch’s access to that Veteran Cookie Jar or Koch Brother’s Contracts. The Koch Brothers have a huge amount of $$$$ invested in various Big Pharma Corporations as well and we all now know how that plays out when Veterans are in the mix= we become that “Non-Human Test Subjects” very easily again.
        The Koch Brothers are very much PART of the swamp needing drained because they have purchased many seats of various political affiliations in Congress….except this is one Presidential Candidate, now President-Elect Trump, in which The Koch’s did NOT back because they do not LIKE Trump, which I think would work against reforming the VA is Hegseth as VA Secretary, because of his at least prior affiliation with Concerned Veterans of America. (even that VSO name is oxymoronic having The Koch Brothers involved).

  13. I’m willing to give McDonald a couple of more years. The run up to where the VA is now took over 35 years and it wasn’t that much better in 1980. The top GS executives in the Central Office are entrenched and difficult to move. Someone needs to tell McDonald that he can send the to civil service jobs in Guam or the Philippines to get them out of the way so things can improve.

    1. @Lem , @Seymore Klearly , @Namnibor – So Lem, your saying that McDonald is performing well, but the lower level executives are to blame for the VA’s troubles? Help me to understand what your saying. To me, either way, the problems of the VA falls into the lap of McDonald.

      1. I’m saying I see improvement in Cheyenne. I’m saying you can’t fire GS upper level that control too much in the Central Office and they need to be sent to Guam or the Philippines the way Nixon did with people he couldn’t fire but were in the way of improvement. So far not enough “bad” directors even at facility level haven’t been removed. Cheyenne has a new director and improvement is seen.

        But Cheyenne was one of the focus units. Take a look at Chicago Police for reaction internally at all levels. To get new it takes time. You have to train new employees and put them in place. The Chicago PD isn’t having much luck and the Police that know they are under the ax have quit performing period. Same happens in the VAs that are under scrutiny unless the lower level employees are thankful for the change. The ones under the ax are going to quit performing with no replacements in sight.

        That is the situation no matter who is on top. No fast correction is possible.

      2. @Lem – I hear what you are saying. But due to the stubbornness of the union, I don’t see major changes that will take effect in a short period of time, if at all. The VA system is so complex and intertwined, that the average Veteran won’t be able to figure out what is going on until that Veteran has been literally shafted by the system. By that time, the Veteran is completely weary and doesn’t have any trust in the VA. Therefore, the VA is not Veteran friendly, but employee friendly. It’s backwards.

  14. When they find someone who will bust the Union strangle hold on the VA, they will find the right person.

  15. Hmmm…looks like someone may have had a talk with someone and whispered in their collective ears. Pete Hegseth is a choice of CVA, remains to be seen how this plays out….

  16. ~~**I have a novel idea**~~

    President Trump, please officially make each and every one of we Veterans Deputized VA Secretaries and ambassador envoys that are Veterans in the guts of the meat grinder and can readily point out the problems and problem children and have same VETERANS provide -2- Veterans from Each State, making a Veterans Commission of 100 Veterans from across the various VA’s in USA to report to Congress and ELIMINATE the already useless neutered VA OIG and OSC.
    Let’s reset things and call it UCMJ ‘Light Edition’, to keep continuity, order, gears turning just like the active military branches operate.
    Lastly, cut the AFGE Union off the VA’s teats.

    I am talking about a sort of a Veteran’s Senate, as described above. Litmus test with actual people in system. Anyone else? It’s time to try something entirely different because the position of VA Secretary obviously is a loathsome position and a figurehead also at best. Why do we need these SES types anyway?

    Also, maybe President Trump has laid-out the path for reforms at VA and he’s performing “Extreme Vetting”? I am hoping the latter and am giving Trump time and benefit of doubt until proven otherwise. As we all should, really.
    It’s pouring rain here. I love rain and storms. Time for a walk…

    1. I’ve commented before about every VA hospital having a veteran or two as ombudsmen for other veterans.

      2 at every hospital with direct access to the hospital director, VISN director, VA Sec, Congressional committees and the White House.

      That would bypass a lot of dead weight that do nothing but throw up roadblocks now, and would force accountability at every level it’s needed.

      It would also bypass worthless VSOs.

  17. Not thrilled one bit with remainder candidates. I have to wonder what Cosgrove’s end-game is or does he now annually throw his name in the hat in order to get the Cleveland Clinic to up his keeping salary there as leverage? Twice; each time he has backed-out at the 12th hour. He knows what the job would entail but when confronted with REAL WORK, “sorry, my commitments at Cleveland Clinic are too onerous to take on task of reforming the VA…”–WTF? Twice? Was this a form of corporate grandstanding or something just to get one’s name out there? Did he think the VA would be a nice $$$ cushy side-job while he continued to run Cleveland Clinic? WTF?
    Vulture Culture is what it is.
    After watching some interviews with Pete Hegseth, I was not impressed because not once did he mention anything about renegotiating AFGE Contracts and other Contracts and he also seems a bit disconnected from the entire picture of problems at the VA. Sure, he said some of the right things about current scandals, but certainly NOT enough substance to garner any interest from me.

    I still think Benjamin Krause, JD simply needs cloned and place a brand new cloned Benjamin at each and every VISN as well as VA Sec. and watch the surface tension of the swamp will fill scrambling swimming rats. Done.
    *IF* President Trump lets McDonald remain temporarily as VA Sec. I am hoping Trump is doing so as to allow McDonald to hang himself with his own team’s corruption only to say, “YOU ARE FIRED!”….only time will tell.
    Is Rep. Miller totally out of the considerations now as well?

  18. There should be a clear protest if McDonald remains. Trump should be ashamed of himself as well if he allows that twit to remain at the VA. Veterans should start filing for political asylum if they are allowing fake DBC committees to convene across this country. It is a start in these hospitals and next it will be all Americans , under the guise of the ACA., in which the OIG (HHS) has oversight of your medical records. All I am saying is perfect your skill. “On time, on target, never quit.”

  19. Pete Hegseth is a show off like the guy who was the Vietnam veterans “leader”.
    Trump will back who ever and make the houses give the guy in charge control to fire the top in every hospital. The state should have say so.

  20. I believe Pete Hegseth has been on this list for a while. When he mistakenly, hit the Cadet with an axe, admittedly I was concerned. I’m over it. I’m ok with the two who removed themselves. Both knew the job, neither wanted it.

    1. The Young Turks have a video of that. This is a case of deja vu all over again. Back on the Johnny Carson show (B&W) edition the popular singer Ed Ames did an axe throwing bit with much better results. Ames played an Indian on a TV shown back in the day. Nothing new here folks, move along..

    2. Both Luis Quinonez and Toby Cosgrove ties to specific medical communities worried me that they would only be taking the job to steer Veterans into accepting care through one of members of their respective communities. Which would not give Veterans a real choice in their health care. Instead they would be choosing between VA health Care and physicians tied to Quinonez Staffing company or Cleveland Clinic.

      Both would have been taking a cut in pay to take the job. Clearly they were both in it for the opportunity to advance their current employers money making ability.

      With what has been released regarding how important it is to Trump that Veterans be able to go anywhere and receive the health care of their choosing it would not have happened under either of the two choices.


      1. You don’t know that. Clear speculation on you your part. And I thought you were the all time fact checker. Where are the links? The proof?

      2. Health Net Inc. for profit successor to California Wellness Foundation top salaries None of the top 5 executives are earning less than $2,500,000. (where your VA Choice $ go.) When Choice was started it was supposed to be contracted to a non profit. So guess why the Director at Phoenix VA got a new car and a trip to Disneyland. Top salary for CEO Health Net $11,800,000+

        Would you like some more facts because your Google finger is broken Rosebud? Welcome to the “swamp”.

      3. That doesn’t mean they would steer vets to any specific health care location as speculated. And so what, they make a lot of money. I’m more concerned with trump’s conflicts of interests in Russia and dozens of other countries. Nevermind his choice for Sec of State. Yea I know he cut all ties with Exxon. Doesn’t matter. He’s a buddy of Putin and we all know trump has an active bromance going with him!

      4. Rosebud, I never mentioned any of your comment in my post although I am on your side. So why was this a response to my post?

      5. I’m on Choice via Health Net and they do decide which physician you can use. Though you have several choices you are steered to friendly sources and sources that won’t cost enough to detract from executive compensation.

        My point is that the organization changed its color under management so it could pay higher executive compensation. The foundation still owns 80% of Health Net. So it is profiting for California residents off of my care in Wyoming and the care of all of the veterans in states other than CA served by Health Net Choice.

        You should care about increasing health care costs as a percentage of GDP. We are by far the highest of the 19 industrialized countries and below 17 of the non industrialized countries in delivery in spite of the atrocious amount we spend on health care (those multi-million dollar executive salaries are part of the reason.)

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