President Donald Trump announced Wednesday evening on Twitter that embattled Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, M.D., will no longer lead the agency.
Trump said he would nominate White House physician Admiral Ronny L. Jackson, M.D., as a permanent replacement for Shulkin, and that Robert Wilkie of the Department of Defense will serve as acting secretary in the interim.
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) March 28, 2018
....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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2018
Shulkin has been embroiled in controversy over the past several weeks following a VA Office of Inspector General report that detailed how he spent taxpayer money on a recent trip to Europe. The VA paid for his wife to join him on the trip, and he also accepted tickets to Wimbledon. The 11-day trip overall cost the agency more than $122,000.
Rumors swirled earlier this week that Shulkin was on the chopping block, but a White House spokesman said that Trump had "confidence" in the VA secretary.
Veterans groups have rallied around Shulkin since the report's release, and a number of representatives for those groups voice their support for him this week.
"If you look at the beginning of this administration, some of their biggest victories—and their only victories—were VA legislation," Garry Augustine, executive director of Disabled American Veterans' District of Columbia headquarters, told CNN.
Other names floated as possible replacements included "Fox & Friends" commentator Pete Hegseth and former Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove, M.D.