Abril 25, 2018

Shulkin out at VA, Trump to tap personal physician

29 Marcha 2018, 03:18 | Crisanna Felipe

Trump discards David Shulkin as veterans affairs secretary and nominates physician to replace him

Marine Corps veteran Angela Madsen and Army veteran Indira Glennon are two of the veterans featured in Stacy Pearsall’s traveling female veteran athlete exhibition

President Donald Trump announced in a tweet on Wednesday he meant to replace his Secretary of Veterans Affairs, David Shulkin, with Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, the White House physician.

The president said he would nominate Ronny Jackson, MD, the White House physician, to replace him.

Wilkie, who will serve as the Acting Secretary for the department, is now the Undersecretary of Defence for Personnel and Readiness at the Department of Defence and overseas health affairs, welfare and quality of life for military families. The selection of Wilkie bypasses VA Deputy Secretary Tom Bowman, who has come under criticism for being too moderate to push Trump's agenda of fixing veterans' care.

John Rowan, who leads Vietnam Veterans of America, described Jackson as an "unknown quantity".

This is the latest in a series of dismissals of senior White House officials and cabinet members by Trump. "Secretary Shulkin was under fire for ethics violations".

Ed Timperlake, a former Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs under the George H.W. Bush administration, dismissed such concerns, noting that Jackson's immediate experience will ultimately prove to be a boon for the VA.

President Trump shakes hands with White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson after Friday's physical.

He was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate after being nominated by President Trump and after having served as the Undersecretary of Veterans Affairs for Health from 2015 until 2017, during the Obama Administration.

Concerned Veterans for America, a Koch-backed group that has pushed for an aggressive expansion of veterans' health care into the private sector, said Wednesday that Shulkin "became a distraction from the important task of improving health care for our veterans". "I think it's safe to assume that President and Mr. Obama trusted him as well", Tubb said.

The action capped weeks of rumors about Shulkin's future in the Trump administration, especially after the agency's inspector general questioned a $122,334 taxpayer-financed trip to Europe last July.

The White House chaos has at times been overshadowed by scandalous claims that Trump cheated on First Lady Melania with a porn star and a Playboy playmate in the early days of their marriage.

The inspector general's report also damaged Shulkin's standing, though he remained widely popular on Capitol Hill and retained the support of numerous nation's major veterans organizations.

Jackson is perhaps best known for defending Trump's health during a televised press briefing in January, amid heated questions about the president's weight and cognitive ability. During his confirmation hearing, Shulkin vowed to resist any privatization efforts, which had been a Trump campaign promise.

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