White House considering GW professor to lead Department of Veterans Affairs

The Trump administration is considering a GW professor to head the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Samuel Spagnolo, a professor of medicine, will meet with White House staff next week to discuss a vacancy for the department’s top post, according to an Associated Press report Friday.

The position became available after White House Physician Ronny Jackson withdrew his consideration for the position last month following allegations of a hostile work environment and inappropriate behavior, NPR reported. Twenty-three unnamed officials accused him of drunkenly wrecking a Secret Service vehicle and giving a government official “a large supply” of opioids – behaviors that Jackson denied.

Spagnolo, who also serves as the president of the National Association of VA Physicians and Dentists, has taught at GW for more than 40 years and was the medical chest consultant for former President Ronald Reagan when he was treated for a gunshot wound at GW Hospital in 1981, according to his biography.

He also served as the director of the Division of Pulmonary Diseases and Allergy at School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Spagnolo received his medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine and is board certified in pulmonary diseases and internal medicine. He served in the military as a U.S. Public Service Officer at the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Ga., according to the biography.

Former Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., who once headed the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and Ron Nichol, a senior adviser to The Boston Consulting Group, also met with White House officials this week about the post. The president is also reportedly considering acting VA Secretary Robert Wilkie for the position.

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