On Wednesday,President Trump announced he will be replacing Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin with his White House physician Admiral Ronny Jackson. The announcement came as quite a surprise, since Shulkin was well regarded on both sides of the aisle, and was a hold-over from the Obama Administration.
Back in June, Trump said that he would “never have to use” his famous Apprentice catchphrase, “You’re fired,” on David Shulkin. But as news of gross misuse of travel funds came to light, Trump was forced to act.
“I am pleased to announce that I intend to nominate highly respected Admiral Ronny L. Jackson, MD, as the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs,” Trump said in a tweet.
President Trump thanked Shulkin in his tweet for “service to our country and to our GREAT VETERANS” and declared that the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Robert Wilkie, would be serving as interim VA secretary until Jackson is confirmed by the Senate.
“Congrats to Admiral Ronny Jackson, MD. Thank you, Dr. David Shulkin, for your dedication and service to helping our veterans,” Vice President Mike Pence tweeted out.
The replacement for Shulkin, Admiral Ronny Jackson, has been serving as a presidential physician in the White House since 2013, from the term of former President Barack Obama. However, his dealings with the White House go way back; he served in during 43rd President George W. Bush’s administration, and was in charge of resuscitative medicine, for a trauma unit in the Iraq War.
Jackson gained national stage back in January when he did a long press conference highlighting President Trump’s health and praising his “good genes.”
The President praised Jackson saying that he “is highly trained and qualified”, and due to his prior experience as a serviceman, Jackson “has seen firsthand the tremendous sacrifice our veterans make.” All this makes him a suitable candidate, and the best choice for the position of Veterans Affairs Secretary.
Despite the corrupt travel charges – totaling more than $100 million – the break was an amicable one. In a statement on Wednesday, Trump followed the replacement announcement with nothing but kind words for the former Veteran Affairs Secretary Shulkin. “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,” said the President. “He has been a great supporter of veterans across the country and I am grateful for his service.”
Following Wednesday’s announcement, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), who is the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs’ Chairman, released a statement praising Shulkin. “Dr. Shulkin has made a tremendous impact toward improving the lives of veterans during his time at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs,” said Isakson, while adding “He has been instrumental in all that we have accomplished in the last year, and I thank Dr. Shulkin for his dedicated service to our country and our veterans. I look forward to meeting Admiral Jackson and learning more about him.”