David Shulkin, Trump's Veterans Affairs Secretary, to Step Down

Trump's presidential physician Dr. Ronny Jackson will replace Shulkin, who is Jewish and was facing criticism over free Wimbledon tickets

Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin testifies on FY2019 and FY2020 budgets for veterans programs before the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, March 21, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Jose Luis Magana/AP

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. 

FILE - In this Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 file photo, President Donald Trump shakes hands with White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson as he boards Marine One to leave Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., after his first medical check-up as president. On Wednesday, March 28, 2018, President Donald Trump fired Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, and tweeted that Jackson is his nominee to replace Shulkin. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Carolyn Kaster/AP

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.