Former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, the most recent castaway from the Trump administration, just broke his silence on his termination Wednesday in a burning op-ed he wrote for The New York Times.
“As I prepare to leave government, I am struck by a recurring thought: It should not be this hard to serve your country,” he seethed in the lengthy piece.
Shulkin was initially named by President Barack Obama as Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Health in 2015. He was then promoted on January 11th, 2017 to the position of United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs by then President-Elect Donald Trump. Yesterday, Trump decided to replace Shulkin with his personal doctor, Ronny L. Jackson, MD, despite his complete lack of experience.
As the most recent victim of Trump’s incessant turnover, Shulkin touched on the chaos facing Washington today:
“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.”
He seems certain that the specific reason for his termination was his vocal opposition to privatizing healthcare at the VA. He noted that “the private sector… is ill-prepared to handle the number and complexity of patients that would come from closing or downsizing V.A. hospitals and clinics.”
Shulkin’s firing does have one interesting caveat – he is one of the few White House employees to receive Trump’s signature “You’re fired!” in person rather than via Twitter.
His predictions for the VA paint a dire picture of the future of the organization under Trump’s helm, further highlighting the president’s blatant disregard for veterans and troops he frequently exploits for political gain.
“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,” Shulkin promises in the piece, and it seems that it might be time we get behind him.