AMVETS is calling for President Donald Trump to name Veterans Affairs Deputy Secretary Thomas Bowman as acting VA secretary, The Hill reports.
In a letter to Trump, AMVETS, one of the largest groups of veterans, said it was concerned that Pentagon official Robert Wilkie, who the president has appointed to lead the VA on an interim basis, lacks experience to run the department, according to the Hill.
"Send Robert Wilkie back to the Pentagon and elevate Deputy Secretary Bowman to acting secretary," AMVETS National Commander Marion Polk wrote. "This is what common sense, veterans and the law all require, and it needs to happen now."
Trump had selected Wilkie, the under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, as acting director after David Shulkin was ousted as VA secretary. Trump has nominated White House physician Rear Adm. Dr. Ronny Jackson to replace him.
But Polk claims Bowman should be serving as acting secretary until Jackson is confirmed.
"He has earned the trust of Congress, and he's clearly the best positioned and equipped to lead the VA right now and provide the continuity of vision and effort that the progress made so far deserves, and that he alone can ensure," Polk wrote.
Wilkie "may be a very bright person and leader," but he does not have any VA experience, he said.
"He's at square one, as any outsider would be," Polk added. "And while there's no doubt he would grow into the position over time, veterans don't have that time. Veterans can't wait."
Meanwhile, the White House has backed down from its earlier claims that Shulkin resigned and officials conceded that his departure was involuntary.
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