Another day in Washington D.C., another member of the Trump Administration is out.
President Trump fired his Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin Wednesday and replaced him with the White House doctor Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson.
Shulkin is just one of many administration exits this year. In March alone, the president has replaced Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Adviser HR McMaster, and his top economic adviser Gary Cohn also resigned. Also, White House communications director Hope Hicks’ last day was this past Wednesday.
Shulkin, however, did not leave quietly.
“As I prepare to leave government, I am struck by a recurring thought: It should not be this hard to serve your country,” he wrote in scathing New York Times column published Wednesday.
He complained that “the environment in Washington has turned so toxic, chaotic, disrespectful and subversive that it became impossible for me to accomplish the important work that our veterans need and deserve.”
Shulkin told NPR Thursday morning that he was fired because he was opposed to plans within the Trump administration to privatize healthcare for veterans. He also said that White House instead used a critical report by the inspector general as a reason to get rid of him.
“I think this was really just being used in a political context to try to make sure that I wasn’t as effective as a leader moving forward.”
As for his replacement, many are questioning whether the well-respected Jackson has the management qualifications to run the second-largest agency in the nation.
“We are disappointed and already quite concerned about this nominee,” said Joe Chenelly, the national executive director of AMVETS. “The administration needs to be ready to prove that he’s qualified to run such a massive agency, a $200 billion bureaucracy,” he added.