The White House has lost its first candidate to replace Eric Shinseki as secretary at the Department of Veterans Affairs, as the Cleveland Clinic’s Delos “Toby” Cosgrove has made the decision to stay in his current position, according to news reports.
Cosgrove — chief executive of the Cleveland Clinic and a former U.S. Air Force surgeon in Vietnam who was awarded the Bronze Star — said in a statement Sunday, “I am humbled and honored to have been considered for the opportunity to help veterans across the United States. This is an enormous responsibility and one that deserved careful thought and consideration. As a physician, veteran, and hospital chief executive, I have great respect for the care provided to the veteran community and for those who work to care for them.”
“This has been an extraordinarily difficult decision, but I have decided to withdraw from consideration from this position and remain at the Cleveland Clinic, due to the commitment I have made to the organization, our patients and the work that still needs to be done here.”
The 73-year-old Cosgrove had been asked by President Obama last week to consider taking the position, which Shinseki resigned amid the controversy surrounding wait times for veterans at VA hospitals and clinics.
Sloan Gibson, deputy secretary under Shinseki, is leading the department on an interim basis.