Defense & National Security

Gary Sinise should be Romney’s VA secretary, says Gingrich

Gary Sinise should be Romney's VA secretary, says Gingrich

If elected president, presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney should add some star power by seating Gary Sinise on his cabinet, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told Human Events this week in an interview.

Gingrich suggested that Romney could make the CSI:NY star, best known for his 1994 breakout role as Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump, his Secretary of Veterans Affairs, saying Sinise cares deeply for military veterans and could bring fresh eyes to the job.

“We know Gary and we very much admire what he’s done,” Gingrich said. “You don’t need, and I say this with all due respect to (current VA Secretary) Gen. (Eric) Shinseki … you do not need to have a better bureaucrat. What you want first of all is a passion focused on the veteran, not the bureaucrat.”

Sinise, who has been touring with the USO since 2004 as the lead guitarist and founding member of the Lt. Dan Band, has been compared to the late comedian Bob Hope in terms of his service to the U.S. military. In addition to performing for troops and their families, Sinise sits on the advisory council of the nonprofit organization Hope for the Warriors and has extensively promoted the National Veterans Art Museum, among other efforts.

It’s not the first time the actor’s name has been mentioned in terms of a political role; in 2009, GOP adviser Nicole Wallace suggested Sinise as a potential 2012 challenger to President Barack Obama.

According to the Federal Election Commission, Sinise donated to Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential bid and has more recently contributed to Republican candidates including tea party Congressman and Army veteran Allen West (Fla.), 32-year Army National Guardsman Sen. Scott Brown (Mass.) and Breitbart.com editor-in-chief Joel Barry Pollak, who made a failed run for Congress in 2010.

But to date, the actor has not pursued a more active political role.

An agent representing Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band did not immediately offer comment on the story.

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