UPDATED, 1:46 PM: Amid all the Michael Cohen/Sean Hannity/Stormy Daniels uproar today, Donald Trump officially nominated his personal White House physician Dr. Ronny L. Jackson to replace the fired David Shulkin as Secretary of Veterans Affairs. The nom has been sent to the Senate.
Navy Rear Admiral Jackson, who has no political experience, was hurled into the national consciousness in January when he fronted a nearly hourlong White House news conference to vouch for Trump’s health. Some cable news pundits have cited sources as saying Jackson might face a difficult Senate confirmation hearing.
PREVIOUSLY, March 28: After days of silence on the much-rumored subject, President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday afternoon that he’s dumping Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin.
Trump tweeted he will appoint Dr. Ronny L. Jackson, currently Trump’s physician, to replace Shulkin.
Shulkin at one point was considered a darling of the cabinet, having been confirmed by the Senate in a 100-0 vote. Media outlets crowned him the Trump administration’s least gobmacking Cabinet member.
But the former hospital executive was considered too moderate for some on Team Trump, having said he would not privatize VA, though he did work to expand opportunities for veterans in private sector care.
Shulkin’s sun began to set when he was accused of ethics violations over a European trip taken last year. Shulkin initially pushed back at VA inspector general’s determination his chief of staff misled ethics officials to get clearance for airfare for his wife, speculating her email had been hacked. He later apologized and paid back the cost of her airfare, but continued to allege Trump appointees were targeting him.
Shulkin survived 13 months in Trump’s cabinet. He was previously appointed by Obama as undersecretary for health at the VA in July of 2015.
Erik Pedersen contributed to this report.