David Shulkin out, Ronny Jackson in as VA secretary

President Donald Trump announced Wednesday he will replace his Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin with Ronny Ja...

Posted: Mar 29, 2018 11:31 AM
Updated: Mar 29, 2018 11:31 AM

President Donald Trump announced Wednesday he will replace his Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin with Ronny Jackson, who currently serves as physician to the President.

Trump thanked Shulkin via Twitter for his "service to our country and to our GREAT VETERANS" and said Robert Wilkie, the under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, will serve as acting secretary until Jackson is confirmed.

A White House official said the embattled Shulkin was no longer effective in his role, saying his "distractions were getting in the way of carrying out the President's agenda." Shulkin

RELATED: Who is Dr. Ronny Jackson?

Jackson, who is an active duty Navy physician, was nominated last week for a military promotion by the President. He was appointed as physician to the president by President Barack Obama in 2013, after having served on the White House medical team since 2006. He continued in that role after Trump came into office and quickly developed a bond with the President.

"He's like central casting -- like a Hollywood star," Trump told donors during a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago last month, according to audio of his remarks obtained by CNN.

Jackson took on an unusually public role for a presidential physician earlier this year when he took to the White House briefing room to field questions about Trump's health, just days after questions about Trump's mental fitness for office were raised.

Soured on Shulkin

Shulkin's departure from the administration is a stark reversal of fortunes for the VA leader, who served as undersecretary of health in the Obama administration. He'd been held in high regard by Trump, who publicly praised him and touted a series of legislative wins regarding veterans issues.

Trump even joked last year that his signature phrase, "you're fired" would never be used with Shulkin.

"We'll never have to use those words on our David. We will never use those words on you. That's for sure," Trump said of Shulkin last June.

Things soured early this year as Shulkin was the subject of a damning report from the department's inspector general that found "serious derelictions" by Shulkin and senior VA officials on a Europe trip last year, and concluded that Shulkin had spent a good deal of the trip sightseeing and had inappropriately accepted a gift of Wimbledon tickets.

The report fueled Shulkin's critics, both within his own agency and outside it, and brought into the open the power struggle over how to best care for the nation's veterans. Expanding private health care for veterans was a talking point of Trump's on the campaign trail, and a White House priority, and Shulkin's critics have said he was a roadblock to achieving that goal.

As the year went on, Shulkin grew increasingly isolated and at odds with top aides, including those in charge of VA communications efforts, was so wide that the secretary had recently been conducting his own crisis communications effort via his personal cell phone, telling reporters that there were political staffers working to oust him.

Shulkin's public comments rubbed White House officials, including chief of staff John Kelly, the wrong way. That frustration reached the White House recently, with Trump reportedly floating the idea in private of replacing Shulkin with Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

His efforts to turn around the troubled VA were met with acclaim last year. However, over the last few months his standing with the White House grew more dubious, with political appointees saying that he wasn't going far enough to advance the Trump administration's goal of moving more care into the private sector.

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

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.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1005797

Reported Deaths: 16449
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1353572119
Lake663011164
Allen57820801
Hamilton46296464
St. Joseph44311613
Elkhart35888509
Vanderburgh32214480
Tippecanoe27898258
Johnson25056445
Hendricks23854359
Porter22890365
Madison18724409
Clark18540252
Vigo17449303
Monroe15242199
LaPorte15124250
Delaware15043261
Howard14719289
Kosciusko12285147
Hancock11709175
Bartholomew11602180
Warrick11287189
Floyd11082215
Wayne10965253
Grant10051220
Morgan9457176
Boone8913116
Dubois8263131
Dearborn820893
Henry8200152
Noble8017106
Marshall7916135
Cass7528121
Lawrence7447171
Shelby7176119
Jackson697289
Gibson6584115
Harrison647591
Knox6418106
Huntington6385100
DeKalb630699
Montgomery6252110
Miami592298
Putnam580078
Clinton574971
Whitley564255
Steuben560676
Wabash5324104
Jasper529879
Jefferson510297
Ripley499886
Adams481576
Daviess4670114
Scott438574
Greene424496
Wells423088
Clay422060
White418164
Decatur4164102
Fayette406187
Jennings386661
Posey376644
LaGrange357678
Washington357651
Randolph344499
Spencer339543
Fountain334760
Sullivan328652
Starke316470
Owen314170
Fulton309467
Orange293564
Jay284145
Franklin265443
Perry265352
Rush261332
Carroll261133
Vermillion257754
Parke231126
Pike228843
Tipton227559
Blackford192642
Pulaski183457
Crawford159223
Newton157848
Benton150217
Brown146147
Martin138219
Switzerland134911
Warren121016
Union107016
Ohio84513
Unassigned0540

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1511760

Reported Deaths: 23616
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1636861666
Cuyahoga1457252442
Hamilton1050421416
Montgomery737101254
Summit614971105
Lucas56058912
Butler51383711
Stark464421056
Lorain35443584
Warren32687373
Mahoning30598675
Clermont28106326
Lake26907443
Delaware24114162
Licking23820287
Trumbull22742556
Fairfield22309246
Greene22212320
Medina21941311
Clark19757351
Richland18500285
Portage17857250
Wood17394221
Allen15905269
Miami15487299
Muskingum14737185
Columbiana13940269
Wayne13722265
Tuscarawas12643304
Marion11906175
Scioto11432161
Pickaway11346141
Erie10811181
Ross10532198
Lawrence9725153
Ashtabula9658200
Hancock9649150
Belmont9262206
Geauga8906157
Jefferson8531197
Huron8338141
Union816557
Washington8066138
Sandusky7790148
Athens773676
Knox7679141
Darke7618155
Seneca7306144
Ashland6917126
Auglaize678097
Shelby6493113
Brown633387
Crawford6245130
Defiance6162103
Mercer612893
Fulton599296
Highland596899
Madison592176
Guernsey583468
Logan582795
Clinton581191
Preble5692122
Putnam5301108
Williams526185
Perry516563
Champaign510372
Jackson506571
Ottawa484086
Coshocton478783
Morrow456656
Pike432763
Fayette427461
Hardin416678
Gallia416266
Adams415392
Van Wert369579
Henry362571
Holmes3619123
Hocking355579
Wyandot322261
Carroll300659
Paulding279147
Meigs263350
Monroe214854
Noble198946
Morgan193232
Harrison180143
Vinton165125
Unassigned05
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