Trump To Replace VA Secretary David Shulkin

Trump To Replace VA Secretary David Shulkin

Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin is being replaced, President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday, ending weeks of speculation and uncertainty about his fate. As recently as Monday, one White House aide declined to discuss Shulkin's future while another told Fox News that the president had confidence in him "at this point in time". Robert Wilkie of DOD will serve as Acting Secretary.

"The answer is he has incredibly good genes, it's just the way God made him", Jackson said.

Jackson has served since 2013 as the Physician to the President, and gained a national profile earlier this year for holding a sweeping press conference on the president's health.

Trump said he was "proud" to nominate the White House's top doctor to take over the VA. "Admiral Jackson is highly trained and qualified and as a service member himself, he has seen firsthand the tremendous sacrifice our veterans make and has a deep appreciation for the debt our great country owes them", the president said.

VA, the second-largest federal bureaucracy, employs 360,000 people and accounts for $186 billion annually.

But his tenure took a sour turn on February 14 when the VA inspector-general reported that Shulkin and his wife had improperly accepted Wimbledon tickets and used staff to arrange site-seeing visits during a business trip to Denmark and England last summer. Trump seems to still be infuriated by Tillerson, said a person who spoke with the president.

A White House official said Trump warmed to Jackson and had been aware that Shulkin had sought to make Jackson the VA undersecretary previous year.

"I haven't asked the President about it directly today, so I don't want to comment on it too specifically", Shah said. But he enjoyed broad support from traditional veterans groups, which fear that more private sector care will lead to diminished resources for VA's 1,700 medical clinics and hospitals.

The leaders of some of those groups publicly implored Trump to keep Shulkin on board at VA, saying they were concerned a potential replacement could be inexperienced or in favor of privatizing health care for the nation's veterans.

At the time, he called for the head of the VA to "clean house". He was offered the job only after several others turned it down, and he was an Obama appointee - the lone holdover in the Trump White House.

That inspector general's report found he improperly accepted a gift of Wimbledon tickets during a work trip to Europe last summer, drawing him into the wave of Trump cabinet officials accused of unethical behavior.

Mr 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.

Shulkin has been facing down a mutiny from a portion of his staff in recent months over whether or not the VA should embrace private healthcare.

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