Donald Trump ousts veterans affairs secretary, taps White House doctor to replace him

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WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump announced another change to his cabinet on Wednesday by sacking embattled Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin and nominating White House doctor Ronny Jackson as his successor.
“I am pleased to announce that I intend to nominate highly respected Admiral Ronny L. Jackson, MD, as the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs,” said Trump, who has also replaced his secretary of state and national security advisor in the last month.

“I am thankful for Dr. David Shulkin’s service to our country and to our GREAT VETERANS!” he said on Twitter, adding that Pentagon official Robert Wilkie would serve as interim department chief until Jackson receives Congressional approval.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

I am pleased to announce that I intend to nominate highly respected Admiral Ronny L. Jackson, MD, as the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs….

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

….In the interim, Hon. Robert Wilkie of DOD will serve as Acting Secretary. I am thankful for Dr. David Shulkin’s service to our country and to our GREAT VETERANS!

Pentagon official Robert Wilkie would serve as interim department chief until Jackson receives Congressional approval, the president added.

Shulkin’s sacking had been widely predicted after he was accused of spending $122,000 on a nine-day trip to Europe with his wife, which included sightseeing at castles and taking in professional tennis matches.

He was one of the few senior officials in the Trump administration who had also served during the presidency of Barack Obama.

Jackson’s stock with Trump rose after he pronounced in January that the 71-year-old president was in “excellent” health.

After releasing the results from Trump’s physical, Jackson said “he has incredible genes and that’s the way God made him.”

Shulkin’s departure caps a dizzying month of changes to the Trump cabinet, most notably the sacking of Rex Tillerson as secretary of state on March 13.

Trump’s top economic advisor Gary Cohn also exited the White House after the president announced plans to impose tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum, a policy Cohn did not endorse.