Trump Replaces Veterans Affairs Secretary With His Personal Doctor

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

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

"Admiral Jackson is highly trained and qualified and as a service member himself, he has seen firsthand the tremendous sacrifice our veterans make and has a deep appreciation for the debt our great country owes them", Trump said.

Trump says Robert Wilkie, an undersecretary at the Defense Department, will serve as acting VA secretary until Jackson is confirmed.

The president has told a number of advisers that he wants to oust Shulkin, once a favorite in his Cabinet.

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.

"I will ask Dr. Shulkin and ask the president to clean house and that's what he should have done from day one, and it hasn't been done", Coffman said.

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.

Shulkin had continued to insist he had the full confidence of the White House amid continuing investigations over his travel and leadership of the department.

Shulkin repeatedly said he would never oversee the privatization of the VA, the only large government-run health care system in the United States.

Shulkin, 58, a physician and former hospital executive who won unanimous confirmation by the Senate past year, had been a favorite of Trump's, racking up legislative victories and fast changes at an agency the president railed against on the campaign trail.

He delivered multiple legislative victories for Trump during his first year at the agency, from a bill that clears a fast path to firing employees accused of misconduct to measures aimed at easing the backlog of benefit appeals.

Currently, more than 30 percent of VA appointments are made in the private sector.

That's a retreat from deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley's message on Fox News Monday morning. "That was always festering beneath the surface - he was an Obama holdover", Carter said.

The sudden departure comes as Mr Trump is seeking to expand the Veterans Choice programme, a campaign promise that major veterans' groups worry could be an unwanted step towards privatising VA health care.

Moving Selnick out of the VA was his "biggest mistake", Shulkin told a confidant, according to Politico.

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.

Shulkin has been facing down a mutiny from a portion of his staff in recent months over whether or not the VA should embrace private healthcare.

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