President Donald Trump fired Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin on Wednesday and nominated White House doctor Ronny Jackson to replace him in the wake of a bruising ethics scandal and a mounting rebellion within the agency.President Donald Trump fired Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin on Wednesday and nominated White House doctor Ronny Jackson to replace him in the wake of a bruising ethics scandal and a mounting rebellion within the agency.
…[Jackson’s] 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.
…Shulkin is the second Cabinet secretary to depart over controversies involving expensive travel, following former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price’s resignation last September.
…[Shulkin] had agreed to reimburse the government more than $4,000 after the VA’s internal watchdog concluded last month that he had improperly accepted Wimbledon tennis tickets and that his then-chief of staff had doctored emails to justify his wife traveling to Europe with him at taxpayer expense.
…Shulkin had used a member of his security detail to run personal errands.
…The VA change comes as Trump is trying to expand the Veterans Choice program, fulfilling a campaign promise that major veterans’ groups worry could be an unwanted step toward privatizing VA health care. His plan remains in limbo in Congress after lawmakers declined last week to include it in a spending bill.
…Trump selected Robert Wilkie, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, to serve as the acting head of the VA.
…The selection of Wilkie bypasses VA Deputy Secretary Tom Bowman, who has come under criticism for being too moderate.