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President Trump has fired his embattled Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin. On Twitter today he said he's going to nominate Ronny Jackson, the physician to the president, for the role. As Axios' Jonathan Swan wrote on Sunday, Shulkin's days were numbered due to ongoing drama at the department over spending and personnel.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Why this matters via Swan: Trump loves Jackson, thinks he’s a great guy and did a terrific job behind the podium when he delivered Trump’s medical results. Trump regarded that appearance as a triumph, according to sources with direct knowledge. This appointment is yet another example of how personal relationships — and Trump’s personal comfort level — are the whole ballgame.

  • But, but, but.... White House officials are well aware of Jackson's lack of experience running large organizations — the VA is the second-largest federal agency. Defense official Robert Wilkie, who will serve as acting secretary pending Jackson's confirmation, is very well regarded and administration officials wouldn't be concerned if he had to stay on a while during a drawn out confirmation for Jackson.

Details on Jackson provided by the White House:

  • Attended Texas A&M University and University of Texas Medical Branch. Began active duty naval service in 1995
  • Operational assignments included, instructor at the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center in Panama City, Florida; det. officer in charge and diving medical officer at Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 8 in Sigonella, Italy; and diving safety officer at the Naval Safety Center in Norfolk.
  • Served residency in emergency medicine at Portsmouth Naval Medical Center and then assigned as clinical faculty in the Emergency Medicine Residency Program at the Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia.
  • Served in a forward deployed Surgical Shock Trauma Platoon in Taqaddum, Iraq.
  • White House physician for second term of George W. Bush, both terms of Barack Obama.
  • Jackson does not have reported experience running an agency equivalent to the size of the VA, the second largest agency in the federal government.

Shulkin's turbulent ride at the White House:

  • The VA's inspector general reported last month that Shulkin used taxpayer dollars to pay for his wife to go to Europe.
  • He started handling his own media relations because he doesn't trust the agency's communications staff.
  • The White House was befuddled by Shulkin's media appearances. Senior officials were especially furious when he told Politico that he had their blessing to clean house.

The first sentence of this story has been corrected to say Jackson is the White House physician, not Trump's personal physician.

Go deeper

Bipartisan police reform negotiations end without deal

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) with Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) in the Capitol in May 2021. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Bipartisan talks on reforming police tactics and accountability, prompted by George Floyd's murder in May 2020, have ended without a compromise, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), a key negotiator, said Wednesday.

Why it matters: Lawmakers, led by Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Booker, had been working toward a bipartisan deal for months but they fell apart due to disagreements on qualified immunity and other issues.

Biden speaks with Macron for first time since diplomatic crisis

President Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron have a conversation ahead of the NATO summit in Brussels, on June 14, 2021. Photo: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

President Biden on Wednesday spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron for the first time since a diplomatic row erupted over a scrapped submarine order, per the White House.

Driving the news: Macron said that the French ambassador will return to Washington next week and will resume working with senior U.S. officials.

2 hours ago - World

Scoop: U.S. and Israel held secret talks on Iran "plan B"

Bennett and Biden. Photo: Sarahbeth Maney/Pool/Getty Images

The U.S. and Israel held secret talks on Iran last week to discuss a possible “plan B” if nuclear talks are not resumed, two senior Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: This is the first time a top-secret U.S.-Israel strategic working group on Iran has convened since the new Israeli government took office in June.

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