New candidate for VA secretary: Sarah Palin

She’s under consideration, a Trump advisor acknowledges, but most of the steam behind the news seems to be coming from Team Palin, not the transition team. Exhibit A: It was a Palin source that nudged NBC about it.

Exhibit B: Shushannah Walshe, who wrote ABC’s story, has been on the Palin beat for years, co-authoring a book about her at the height of Palinmania in 2010. Walshe got the story the same way NBC did, I’d guess, with a leak from Palinworld which she followed up on with Team Trump.

Sarah Palin is under consideration for secretary of veterans affairs, a close Palin aide and a top Donald Trump transition official tell ABC News.

The Palin aide tells ABC News that in “recent days,” Palin told Trump transition officials: “I feel as though the megaphone I have been provided can be used in a productive and positive way to help those desperately in need.”…

The former GOP vice-presidential nominee has not been to Trump Tower to meet with the president-elect, but she was one of his earliest and most high-profile endorsers. The Palin aide says Palin has had discussions with the transition team, and the top transition official confirms this.

She’s “under consideration,” but Trump hasn’t called her in for an interview? That’s strange, since he reportedly has met with other top contenders for the VA job. If you believe this Free Beacon report, he’s down to two candidates, neither of whom is Palin.

President-elect Donald Trump is said to be considering former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R.) and Pete Hegseth, an Army veteran and former CEO of Concerned Veterans for America, to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The selection of VA secretary is one of Trump’s most anticipated moves, as the new leader will be tasked with reforming a government hospital system in need of “system-wide reworking.”

The selection list for the cabinet post has narrowed to Brown and Hegseth, sources told the Washington Free Beacon this week. Both have met with the president-elect at Trump Tower in New York in the past few days.

Hegseth is an Army veteran, the former CEO of Concerned Veterans for America, and a frequent guest on Fox News. Brown was, of course, Ted Kennedy’s replacement in the Senate in 2010, is himself a member of the Army National Guard, and is also a Fox News regular. Palin was governor of Alaska, the GOP’s VP nominee in 2008, and is the mother of a veteran and mother-in-law of Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer. Unlike Hegseth and Brown, though, she’s a subject of endless media fascination. “It’s crazy to put someone in charge [of the VA] who is more newsworthy than the Department itself,” says Caleb Howe, especially a department in urgent need of systemic reform that needs as few distractions from that task as possible. Palin is known to the public at this point mostly as a partisan bombthrower; the ideal person for the VA would be a low-low-low-key bureaucrat with practice at overhauling large organizations. (Romney would be a better VA secretary than Secretary of State, I’m convinced.) It’s also an open question whether she could be confirmed by the Senate given the amount of antipathy to her on the left and inevitable attacks that she’s unqualified. If Democrats vote no as a bloc, she could only afford three GOP defections.

Politico has two sources of its own on the transition team who confirm that Palin’s now in the mix for the VA. Maybe Trump has reservations about Hegseth and Brown and is expanding the field of candidates, which seems to be what happened with the search for Secretary of State, or maybe Team Trump senses that Palin is campaigning publicly for the job and doesn’t want to be rude in ruling her out. Her ties with Trump’s team go back years, after all. Steve Bannon made a movie about her in 2011, when he was eyeing Palin as the great populist hope. And she gave Trump’s campaign a shot in the arm this spring when she endorsed him over Ted Cruz, which was as sure a sign as any that the tea party was dead and “grassroots conservatism” was really just populism by another name. Walshe’s report notes that this video, which isn’t new but feels like an ad for installing Palin at the VA, appeared on Dakota Meyer’s Facebook page just three days ago, an obvious nudge to help add her to the list of candidates. Trump at least owes her an interview at the Tower, no?