Shulkin slams 'toxic' Washington, speaks out against VA privatization

30 March, 2018, 01:00 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin was ousted via Twitter Wednesday

Less than 24 hours after he was ousted as secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) by President Donald Trump, David Shulkin argued in an op-ed for the New York Times on Thursday that he was forced out by privatization advocates in the White House who saw him as an "obstacle" and warned that handing the department over to the private sector "is a awful idea".

Jackson, a rear admiral of the US Navy, has been working as a presidential physician since the George W. Bush administration, and has been the lead doctor monitoring Trump's health since Trump became president. Department of Defense (DoD) Undersecretary Robert Wilkie will be the Acting VA Secretary in Shulkin's absence. "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 previous year, and I thank Dr. Shulkin for his dedicated service to our country and our veterans".

President Trump has fired another member of his cabinet.

A White House official said Shulkin was informed of his dismissal by chief of staff John Kelly Wednesday afternoon before the president announced the move on Twitter.

He reiterated that message later Thursday morning during an interview with NPR, when he said some political appointees at the VA thought he wasn't leading a fast enough charge toward privatization and sought to undermine him. Shulkin's name was scrubbed from the Department of Veterans Affairs website soon after.

Shulkin's departure follows a series of blunders for the secretary of the already embattled VA, including reported insurgencies inside his own department to complications surrounding his improper use of travel expenses. President Trump and his administration have initiated several programs throughout the VA, meant to shake up the notoriously problematic system charged with caring for our nation's veterans.

Unemployment among veterans is near its lowest level in years, at 3.5 percent, and the percent of veterans who have regained trust in VA services has risen to 70 percent, from 46 percent four years ago.

"The president wants somebody who gives him the best possible care to go over and give that same care to the veterans".


Fox News personality Pete Hegseth, a former director of CVA who also advises Trump on veteran issues, was considered for VA secretary, according to news reports.

Jackson practiced combat medicine in Iraq and has served as White House physician since 2013.

That biography also says he is a Texas native who graduated from medical school at the University of Texas in 1995, the same year he began active duty service in the Navy in Virginia.

On Capitol Hill, Jackson's selection was praised by Sen.

"I believe we will soon be at a contract that will be groundbreaking for new rules in interoperability", said Shulkin.

Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, said Shulkin "made a tremendous impact toward improving the lives of veterans".

As many of you know, I am a physician, not a politician.

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