Trump taps White House doctor as VA secretary

President Donald Trump announces he will replace his Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin with Ronny Jackson, who currently serves as physician to the President. CNN's Kaitlan Collins reports.

Posted: Mar 31, 2018 6:37 AM
Updated: Mar 31, 2018 6:37 AM

A day after President Donald Trump fired him as secretary of veterans affairs, David Shulkin offered kind words to presidential physician Ronny Jackson, Trump's choice to replace him, and stressed the depth of the challenge ahead.

"It is going to be a challenge for anybody to take," Shulkin said on "Anderson Cooper 360" Thursday evening.

Jackson is a military doctor who has worked in the White House for three successive administrations, but Trump's decision to nominate him to lead the second largest department of the federal government has elicited skepticism about whether that experience is suited to the job.

Does Trump's VA pick have what it takes to turn around troubled agency?

Shulkin noted in the interview that when it comes to the Department of Veterans Affairs, "we're talking about 375,000 employees" and "a budget of close to 200 billion dollars next year."

But in response to criticism such as that of former CIA Director John Brennan, who called it a "terribly misguided nomination," Shulkin offered his personal support for Jackson in the role.

"I also know Dr. Jackson. He's a friend of mine. I have considerable respect for him," Shulkin said. "I will do everything that I can to help Dr. Jackson succeed in this position."

Shulkin blasts 'toxic, chaotic, disrespectful' Washington in farewell op-ed

Shulkin said the key for the next secretary is to fashion a team that supports a stronger department, and warned during the interview about infighting he experienced before his firing.

"This is bigger than any one person," Shulkin said.

Shulkin pinned the contention within the department under his tenure on Trump's political appointees, who he said favored an aggressive privatization path he thinks is wrongheaded.

"I believe strongly, Anderson, that when it comes to VA and national security, we can't make this a political issue," Shulkin said. "There were some political appointees within my administration that didn't see it that way and really wanted us to take a much harder stance towards privatization. I wasn't willing to do that. I don't think that's the right thing for veterans, and I stood up against them."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 446380

Reported Deaths: 5995
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin927471474
Ramsey39820736
Dakota32876338
Anoka30877363
Washington20066227
Stearns17813187
St. Louis13609241
Scott1191796
Wright11570104
Olmsted1041375
Sherburne818965
Carver692436
Clay650280
Rice604168
Kandiyohi553471
Blue Earth538933
Crow Wing481374
Otter Tail454466
Chisago450832
Benton418685
Winona387246
Douglas373466
Nobles368746
Mower363329
Goodhue345358
Polk327956
McLeod324245
Morrison311144
Beltrami309447
Lyon300636
Becker284139
Itasca284043
Isanti281641
Carlton278543
Steele27229
Pine266013
Freeborn243420
Todd231630
Nicollet223836
Brown214534
Mille Lacs213646
Le Sueur208815
Cass207323
Meeker199233
Waseca188916
Wabasha16953
Martin169326
Roseau165416
Hubbard149238
Redwood139527
Renville137139
Houston135613
Dodge13384
Chippewa130932
Cottonwood126818
Fillmore12245
Wadena119616
Rock109712
Sibley10837
Aitkin107633
Watonwan10638
Faribault104616
Pennington98815
Kanabec97418
Pipestone93923
Yellow Medicine93514
Murray8785
Jackson85210
Swift83118
Pope7375
Marshall70315
Stevens6978
Clearwater68514
Lac qui Parle65716
Lake63215
Wilkin6229
Koochiching59310
Lincoln4821
Big Stone4553
Unassigned43668
Grant4298
Norman4238
Mahnomen4107
Kittson37219
Red Lake3164
Traverse2503
Lake of the Woods1901
Cook1140

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 303464

Reported Deaths: 4269
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk45396448
Linn17695274
Scott15387163
Black Hawk13659236
Woodbury12953175
Johnson1204749
Dubuque11312150
Pottawattamie8942112
Dallas882171
Story863834
Webster467571
Cerro Gordo463568
Sioux453756
Clinton448861
Warren438838
Marshall425761
Buena Vista391929
Muscatine386777
Des Moines380941
Plymouth348968
Wapello341698
Jasper320458
Lee314430
Marion302152
Jones270449
Henry263430
Carroll253434
Bremer242248
Crawford228522
Boone216417
Washington214531
Benton208844
Jackson191131
Mahaska190736
Tama185857
Dickinson184226
Delaware172336
Kossuth171343
Clay166019
Wright163024
Fayette160022
Buchanan158323
Hamilton157929
Winneshiek155119
Harrison154762
Hardin154229
Cedar151819
Clayton150748
Butler146824
Page143715
Cherokee138227
Floyd138036
Mills136016
Lyon133832
Poweshiek132424
Hancock129024
Allamakee126927
Iowa123922
Calhoun12209
Grundy120226
Jefferson119524
Madison11899
Winnebago118529
Mitchell115734
Louisa114330
Cass112641
Chickasaw110612
Sac110615
Emmet110331
Appanoose109838
Union108122
Humboldt104219
Guthrie102424
Franklin101618
Shelby101426
Unassigned9160
Palo Alto9019
Keokuk84325
Montgomery84022
Howard82819
Monroe80818
Clarke7847
Pocahontas77211
Ida74030
Davis68921
Greene6887
Adair68620
Lucas6488
Osceola6349
Monona63316
Worth5993
Taylor5919
Fremont5046
Van Buren49412
Decatur4804
Ringgold4269
Wayne41421
Audubon4118
Adams2953
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