Fired Veteran’s Affairs (VA) secretary, David Shulkin, left his position with this sentiment: “It should not be this hard to serve your country.”
Shulkin wrote an op-ed following his release as VA secretary and criticized the “toxic” and “chaotic” environment in D.C. He also described a “brutal power struggle” at the VA.
“As I prepare to leave government, I am struck by a recurring thought: It should not be this hard to serve your country,” he wrote in the op-ed published in “The New York Times.”
The former secretary also wrote about his accomplishments while serving in the position and said that it was his “greatest professional honor” to serve the country’s veterans. He described fighting to stand up “for this great department and all that it embodies.”
“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 wrote.
“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,” he said.
The focus of Shulkin’s criticism was on privatizing health care at the VA. He said ”some political appointees” within the administration are “choosing to promote their agendas instead of what’s best for veterans.”
He said that he came to Washington aware that the city can be “ugly,” but he figured he could “avoid all of the ugliness by staying true to my values.”
“I have been falsely accused of things by people who wanted me out of the way. But despite these politically-based attacks on me and my family’s character, I am proud of my record and know that I acted with the utmost integrity. Unfortunately, none of that mattered,” he wrote.
This op-ed from Shulkin comes after President Trump said on Wednesday that he was removing the secretary and asking White House physician Adm. Ronny Jackson to be the replacement.
As usual, the president announced his decision on Twitter. Shulkin at one time was among Trump’s favorite Cabinet secretaries. His firing is one more quake in a turbulent few weeks at the White House. We’ve seen the departure of Trump’s secretary of State, his top economic aide, and his second national security adviser.
Shulkin has been at the center of heated discourse over a report that accused him of misusing taxpayer dollars.