After news broke that Pete Hegseth was on President-elect Trump’s short list for VA Secretary, great acclaim for the former Army National Guard infantry Captain and current Fox News host started rolling in. Last month, American Military News spoke with Newt Gingrich, S.E. Cupp, Scott Mann, and others who all heaped praise for Hegseth as the potential pick to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. Previously the CEO of Concerned Veterans of America (CVA), Hegseth played an integral part in passing the “Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014” that was signed into law by President Obama after receiving wide bi-partisan support in Congress. On Thursday, Forbes’ health care and entitlement reform blog, The Apothecary, offered resounding acclaim for Hegseth, stating that if Trump were to nominate him to head the VA, that “the nomination of the single best qualified person” for the job.
Avik Roy, a political contributor for The Apothecary, mentions in the article that Hegseth had reached out to him a few years ago after he wrote a scathing piece about the poor organization at the VA. Roy tells of the moment Hegseth called him and told him to put his money where he mouth was and join his VA reform task force.
“I’ve done a lot of different types of work in my life, and I’ve rarely met anyone who had the combination of skills that Hegseth has,” Roy said.
“He was entrepreneurial, seeking creative reforms of the VA, while also being an excellent manager—not only balancing the egos of that task force, but leading a large veterans’ organization and making sure the trains ran on time. He had the strategic mind you’d expect from a Princeton grad and McKinsey alum, and the discipline that comes from being an infantry officer in Iraq,” he continued. Hegseth holds two Bronze Stars and a Combat Infantryman Badge for his time in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Roy also noted that following his meeting with President-elect Trump, Pete Hegseth was photographed coming out of the Trump Tower elevator with a copy of the Veterans Independence Act which was the reform proposal created by the task force Roy was a apart of. Roy stated that while former Secretary Shinseki and current Secretary McDonald are “good men,” they’re a part of the status quo. Roys points to the fact that it’s the status quo that’s part of the problem and Hegseth would be anything but.
“But part of it is that the go-along, get-along approach never works at the VA,” Roy wrote. “The career officials who oppose change smother you in the status quo.”
The VA “needs someone who will challenge the bureaucracy and be an agent for change,” he continued. “Pete Hegseth is that guy, and picking him would galvanize the millions of veterans whose cause he has taken up.”
Hegseth also received praise from former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, who spoke to American Military News last month and said that “no one has been more effective than Pete Hegseth in advocating reform of veterans health.”
CNN Commentator S.E. Cupp shared a similar sentiment about the young vet who could soon be leading the VA, saying that no one is more qualified to lead the department.
“When it comes to veterans’ issues, no one is more qualified or compassionate than Pete,” Cupp told American Military News. “He is, in no uncertain terms, exactly who the Veterans Affairs department needs to lead it out of the dark ages and into the 21st century.”