Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin will resign soon, President Donald Trump said on Wednesday, adding that he will nominate his personal physician, Dr. Ronny Jackson, to succeed him.
White House officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Shulkin had become a distraction due to a constant wave of speculation about his future. They said an undersecretary at the Department of Defense, Robert Wilkie, will be the acting secretary.
Jackson, a rear admiral of the U.S. Navy, has been working as a presidential physician since the George W. Bush administration, and has monitored Trump's health since Trump became president.
"Admiral Jackson is highly trained and qualified and as a service member himself, he has seen firsthand the tremendous sacrifice our veterans make and has a deep appreciation for the debt our great country owes them," Trump said.
Trump said he appreciated Shulkin's work, including passage of the VA Accountability Act.
"He has been a great supporter of veterans across the country and I am grateful for his service," Trump said in a statement.
Shulkin had been drawing criticism for a damning report from the inspector general of the Department of Veterans Affairs. It found that during a trip to London and Denmark he improperly accepted tickets to the Wimbledon tennis tournament and his chief of staff made false statements so Shulkin's wife could travel at government expense.