Trump just replaced the secretary of Veteran Affairs with the guy who does his physicals

From the White House to the VA.
From the White House to the VA.
Image: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Donald Trump is nominating White House doctor Ronny Jackson to run the US Department of Veteran Affairs.

The announcement, which the president tweeted late Wednesday, comes after the ouster of David Shulkin, who previously held the post. The replacement is the latest episode in a dramatic two-week period of reshuffling at the Trump White House; both national security advisor H.R. McMaster and secretary of state Rex Tillerson have also been fired.

Jackson is a physician and rear admiral with the US Navy. He served as an emergency doctor in Iraq during the war. He also specializes in submarine medicine, and held several posts instructing and caring for Navy divers.

The native Texan joined the medical staff at the White House in 2006, and has treated all three presidents who occupied it during that period. He was officially designated physician to the president by Barack Obama in 2013.

After examining Trump for his routine annual physical earlier this year, Jackson declared the president’s health—including his mental state—as “excellent.” However, he did recommend that the commander in chief switch to a healthier diet and do more exercise.

If confirmed as secretary of Veteran Affairs, Jackson will be in charge of managing 370,000 employees offering care to some 20 million veterans.

Trump had reportedly been unhappy with Shulkin for some time. “I serve at the discretion of the president, and [Trump] should have a cabinet member that he is comfortable with,” the exiting official said in a statement.