- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Senate unanimously confirmed Robert McDonald to be the next Veterans Affairs secretary on Tuesday afternoon.

Mr. McDonald unsurprisingly sailed through his confirmation on a 97-0 vote, after unanimously passing through the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and receiving words of encouragement and praise from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

“It certainly seems clear to me that Mr. McDonald is the right person to lead the VA,” said Sen. Jerry Moran, Kansas Republican, on the Senate floor. “He is capable of restoring hope in veterans so they can trust the agency that was created for their benefit.”

Sen. Thad Cochran, Mississippi Republican, initially voted no, then went into the Republican cloak room. Minutes later, he emerged with an aide and changed his vote to support Mr. McDonald.

Mr. McDonald is the former top executive at Procter and Gamble and is also a graduate of West Point. His supporters have said the blend of business know-how with military experience and a passion for helping veterans make him the right man to take over the troubled department.

Mr. McDonald will replace Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson, who took over the department earlier this year when Eric Shinseki was forced to step down amid allegations that veterans had died while on a secret wait list at a Phoenix facility. Later investigations found that secret wait lists, as well as data manipulation and whistleblower retaliation, were widespread throughout the department.