David Shulkin, This Week’s White House Departure

Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. David Shulkin’s head is the most recent one to roll at the Trump White House. Dr. Shulkin was fired on March 28. President Trump cited his reason for dismissing David Shulkin as the fact that Shulkin wasn’t in alignment with the White House agenda to privatize U.S. veterans’ health care.

During a speech in Ohio, Donald Trump said of David Shulkin’s firing,“We made changes because we want them (veterans) taken care of, we want them to have choice so that they can run to a private doctor and take care of it, and it’s going to get done…It’s going to get done. We’ll always protect the people that have protected us. We have to.”

In a New York Times op-ed he wrote shortly after being ousted, David Shulkin wrote, ““They saw me as an obstacle to privatization who had to be removed…As I prepare to leave government, I am struck by a recurring thought: It should not be this hard to serve your country.”

David Shulkin said that he has argued against privatization. The private sector, he maintains, is “ill-prepared” to address the numerous and unique health care needs of veterans. The Veterans Administration has a body of research and a greater understanding of the issues that veterans face, according to Shulkin.

“…I am convinced that privatization is a political issue aimed at rewarding select people and companies with profits, even if it undermines care for veterans.”

David Shulkin had earlier been the subject of a report by the VA Inspector General, accusing him of improperly accepting tickets to Wimbledon, and of using his government staff to help him arrange a European sightseeing tour. Shulkin repaid the Veterans Administration for the Wimbledon tickets. In his op-ed, David Shulkin wrote,

“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,” wrote David Shulkin. “I have been falsely accused of things by people who wanted me out of the way.”

It’s not difficult to believe in the truth of David Shulkin’s words. In Donald Trump’s administration, it seems that whether it’s by simply disagreeing with him, or whether it’s by conducting a legal investigation involving him, anyone who might make things difficult for the President should consider his or her days to be numbered. David Shulkin appears to be just the latest manifestation of this.

Ousted Veterans Affairs Head Writes Op-ed on Firing | Fox News [2018-03-29]

David Shulkin Slams Political Climate after Being Fired | CBS This Morning [2018-03-29]

 

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