President Donald Trump will be firing current Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin and has already announced his possible replacement via Twitter.
“I am pleased to announce that I intend to nominate highly respected Admiral Ronny L. Jackson, MD, as the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs ….In the interim, Hon. Robert Wilkie of DOD will serve as Acting Secretary. I am thankful for Dr. David Shulkin’s service to our country and to our GREAT VETERANS!”
….In the interim, Hon. Robert Wilkie of DOD will serve as Acting Secretary. I am thankful for Dr. David Shulkin’s service to our country and to our GREAT VETERANS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2018
Shulkin is the second Cabinet secretary to depart over controversies involving expensive travel, following former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price’s resignation last September.
Trump says he is “thankful for Dr. David Shulkin’s service to our country and to our GREAT VETERANS!
As reported by MarineCorpsTimes.com
The move leaves the Department of Veterans Affairs — which has a budget of nearly $200 billion and boasts about 360,000 employees — in a state of leadership disarray for the second time in less than four years. In May 2014, then-VA Secretary Eric Shinkseki was forced to resign after a national scandal over patient wait times and records manipulation by hospital officials.
Administration officials said the president was unhappy with Shulkin’s handling of the travel scandal, in which the VA secretary improperly paid for his wife’s airfare with taxpayer funds and accepted free tickets to the Wimbledon tennis tournament from an English businesswoman.
Shulkin initially defended his actions, posting a lengthy statement decrying investigators on the VA website that the White House ordered taken down hours later. That prompted accusations of insubordination from Shulkin, and made public a host of internal policy fights over shifting more federal dollars for veterans’ medical care to private-sector physicians.
Shulkin said repeatedly in recent weeks that the president and White House Chief of Staff supported him, but he was unable to fire or discipline any senior level department employees connected to his accusations of an internal coup.