Former Massachusetts senator Scott Brown will not be the new head of the Department of Veterans Affairs after all.
President-elect Donald Trump announced at his press conference Wednesday morning that he had chosen David J. Shulkin for the post. Shulkin has been undersecretary for health for the VA in the Obama administration.
Brown, who served in the Army National Guard, said in November that he had talked directly with Trump about a job in the administration and said leading the VA was his top choice. The prospect drew support from some surprising quarters, including his onetime campaign foe, Senator Elizabeth Warren, who unseated him in 2012.
“If Scott Brown is the nominee for Veterans Affairs, I have no doubt that he would put his heart and soul into trying to help veterans,” Warren said in December. “And I would put my heart and soul into trying to help him do that. You bet I’d support him for that.”
Governor Charlie Baker, Brown’s fellow Republican, in November called him a “worthy and worthwhile candidate” for the post, praising his “skill set and experience.”
Recently, Brown had said he was still in the mix as Trump weighed his options. On Wednesday, Brown said on Twitter he was glad to have been considered.
“I was honored to be considered til the end to head the VA. Tough job. Vets are dying. Wishing the new nominee the very best. #nhpolitics,” Brown tweeted.
Brown broke with the GOP establishment to endorse Trump, days before the New Hampshire primary. He introduced Trump at a high-dollar fund-raiser in Boston’s Financial District in June.
In November, Brown told the Globe that Trump had called him less than two weeks after winning the presidency. Trump’s message, Brown said: “How do you think you can help me?”
Brown said at the time that he responded by pointing to housing and veterans’ issues, but that his real passion was military service.
“Quite honestly, it’s the toughest Cabinet position,” Brown said he told Trump, adding, “It transcends party.”
Brown later met with the president-elect at Trump Tower and told reporters he felt he was the “best person” for the post.
Brown did not return a voice mail on Wednesday seeking comment.Felice Belman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Jim O’Sullivan can be reached email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JOSreports.