Taking better care of veterans was a key theme of President Trump’s 2016 campaign, and when he rolled out his plan to fix the Department of Veterans Affairs in July 2016, he said his first order of business would be naming a new VA secretary with a “personal mission” to fix the department. “This person, man or women, will be outstanding with an outstanding track record,” he said.
For roughly the first year of his administration, Trump thought that person was David Shulkin, a physician who was the department’s undersecretary for health under President Obama. But as Shulkin fought Trump administration proposals to privatize services provided by the VA and faced a scandal over a trip to Europe in recent weeks, it became apparent that Trump had soured on him. On Wednesday evening he announced via tweet that Shulkin was out, and he’d tapped Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, the White House physician, to lead the department.
White House officials spent Thursday fending off questions about whether Jackson, who currently oversees about two dozen people in the White House medical office, is really up to the task of modernizing an agency that employs 370,000 people and operates 1,243 health facilities. New