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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Chaos President Fires Shulkin

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's approach to governing.

Trump sacked VA Secretary Shulkin and replaced him with the White House physician, Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, who had done a good job on TV praising Trump's health.  David A. Graham at The Atlantic:
What Jackson doesn’t have much of, despite his high rank in the Navy, is extensive administrative experience, especially with a bureaucracy the size of the VA. In addition to running the White House medical office, he also led a bomb-disposal unit and commanded a forward-deployed Surgical Shock Trauma Platoon in Iraq. Compare that to Shulkin, a health-care executive with a lengthy resume, who Trump promoted to VA secretary after he served as deputy secretary during the Obama administration. Shulkin’s predecessor was Robert McDonald, who had previously served as president, chairman, and CEO of the Fortune 500 company Procter and Gamble. McDonald replaced Eric Shinseki, who had been chief of staff for the Army. Jackson is being asked to take on an enormous, complicated, and troubled bureaucracy with much less direct experience than those men.
Shulkin in NYT:
I have fought to stand up for this great department and all that it embodies. In recent months, though, 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. I can assure you that I will continue to speak out against those who seek to harm the V.A. by putting their personal agendas in front of the well-being of our veterans.
As many of you know, I am a physician, not a politician. I came to government with an understanding that Washington can be ugly, but I assumed that I could avoid all of the ugliness by staying true to my values. I have been falsely accused of things by people who wanted me out of the way. But despite these politically-based attacks on me and my family’s character, I am proud of my record and know that I acted with the utmost integrity. Unfortunately, none of that mattered.
As I prepare to leave government, I am struck by a recurring thought: It should not be this hard to serve your country.