Abril 22, 2018

Trump dismisses David Shulkin as veterans' affairs secretary

29 Marcha 2018, 10:18 | Crisanna Felipe

Diving instructor could be VA's next sushi

Donald J. Trump on Twitter:

As secretary, Shulkin was forced to accept White House picks for key VA staff positions.

Shulkin won unanimous confirmation from the Senate previous year and had enjoyed bipartisan support and the backing of the President, who touted his legislative victories at the Veterans Affairs department. "That's for sure", Trump said of Shulkin last June.

Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, the White House physician, was nominated to succeed Shulkin, he only Trump Cabinet secretary to be confirmed unanimously by the Senate, and the only holdover from President Barack Obama's administration.

Trump wavered on replacing Shulkin for months, at times openly touting potential replacements while his aides insisted there were no plans to make a change. The decorated Texas native has been part of the White House medical unit since 2006, which means he's been taking care of three presidents.

His profile rose after he conducted a sweeping press conference about the president's medical exam in January in which he impressed Trump with his camera-ready demeanor and deft navigation of reporters' questions as he delivered a rosy depiction of the president's health, according to a person familiar with the president's thinking but not authorized to discuss private conversations.

He said Trump, 71, was in "very, very good health" and had "incredible genes" that allowed him to stay healthy despite a lack of exercise and an appetite for fast food. He'd been held in high regard by Trump, who publicly praised him and touted a series of legislative wins regarding veterans issues. These figures drew a lot of criticisms as some claimed Trump looked heavier than that.

"The president wants somebody who gives him the best possible care to go over and give that same care to the veterans". Sports Illustrated made a short list of athletes around the same size as Trump and the side-by-side comparisons were not too flattering for the president.

The president announced the move in a tweet, removing the secretary after a highly publicized period of turmoil with the White House that began with allegations of Shulkin improperly accepting gifts on a trip to Europe, during which he supposedly used taxpayer money to pay for his wife's travel.

Th president has now fire more than two dozen top members of his administration.

Shulkin oversaw the cost overruns that have plagued the $1 billion over-budget Aurora VA Hospital.

But support for him at the White House eroded quickly in recent weeks as Trump grew tired of the drumbeat of negative headlines about him.

The report of Shulkin's travel stoked tensions within the agency, and he reduced contacts with Trump's political appointees and installed an armed guard outside his office, according to a 9 March report in the Washington Post.

And last Friday, the Pentagon announced Trump had nominated Jackson for a promotion from rear admiral (lower half) to rear admiral (upper half).

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