On Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced that Dr. David Shulkin, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, had been fired. Trump also nominated Dr. Ronny Jackson, the White House physician, for the role and declared Robert Wilkie as Shulkin’s acting replacement in the interim. This is the second time recently that Trump has used Twitter to announce a dismissal.
“I am pleased to announce that I intend to nominate highly respected Admiral Ronny L. Jackson, MD, as the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs,” said Trump in a tweet. “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!”
Jackson was previously in the spotlight in January after asserting that Trump had a clean bill of health and declaring the president had “incredible genes.”
“[Trump] has a lot of energy and a lot of stamina,” said Jackson after the physical. “He’s very sharp. He’s very articulate when he speaks to me.”
Shulkin appeared to be at risk for dismissal days prior to the official announcement. In February, according to a report by the Daily Mail, a VA inspector general’s report indicated he improperly accepted tickets to Wimbledon and misused government resources.
Doctored emails were discovered that allowed Shulkin’s wife to travel with him to Europe at the taxpayer’s expense.
In a separate statement about Shulkin, Trump stated, “I appreciate the work of Dr. David Shulkin and the many great things we did together at Veterans Affairs, including the VA Accountability Act that he was helpful in getting passed.”
“He has been a great supporter of veterans across the country and I am grateful for his service.”
Instead of temporarily promoting deputy VA secretary Tom Bowman, Robert Wilkie, the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, is set to serve as acting secretary of the VA.