In a shocking development — the likes of which our nation has not seen in multiple days — Donald Trump has fired a senior White House official over Twitter. This time, it’s Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin holding the pink slip.
Shulkin was one of the few Obama-appointed agency leaders to survive into the Trump era. And for much of last year, it looked like he might hang on for the long haul: Shulkin oversaw multiple bipartisan legislative victories on veterans’ issues, which pleased the president immensely. At the bill signing for one such measure, as the New York Times notes, Trump told the secretary that he would never have to worry about hearing the mogul’s most famous catchphrase.
But Shulkin is not as enthusiastic about privatizing the VA health system as the conservative hard-liners that Mike Pence & Co. installed as his deputies. Shulkin, like most veterans groups, preferred to take a gradual approach to reform; the hard-liners want rapid action to free our servicemen and women from the horrors of socialized medicine.
So, when an inspector general’s report found that Shulkin had gone sightseeing — and improperly accepted Wimbledon tickets — during a trip overseas, his enemies pounced. Relations between Shulkin and his staff deteriorated. And now, the president has replaced Shulkin with his personal White House doctor, Ronny L. Jackson, who announced in January that Trump was in “excellent” health and had “incredible genes.”