GOP President-elect Donald Trump has selected current Department of Veterans Affairs official David Shulkin to serve as head of the agency.
In his first press conference since July, Trump announced Wednesday that he was picking Shulkin, current under secretary for health, to serve as secretary of the VA.
Such a move is monumental, as Shulkin, if confirmed, would be the first non-veteran to ever serve in the position, which may come off as odd to some observers.
Trump emphasized during his campaign how highly he thinks of veterans, and so has tapped top generals for positions, namely retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis for secretary of defense, retired Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly for secretary of Homeland Security and former Army Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn for national security adviser.
Shulkin was picked for his current position by President Barack Obama in 2015 and has testified numerous times before Congress about VA scandals, meaning he will be somewhat of a familiar face to legislators and also personally familiar with the process of being endlessly questioned.
The selection process for the position of VA secretary was much lengthier than initially anticipated and involved many candidates dropping out of the running and gaining favor, losing it and gaining it again. Several times, Pete Hegseth, former CEO of Concerned Veterans for America, was believed to be a top candidate for the post, just like former GOP Sen. Scott Brown, but at the end of the day, the two fell out of favor. (RELATED: Four Prominent Whistleblowers Throw Support Behind Pete Hegseth For SecVA Position)
While many veterans’ advocacy organizations urged Trump to keep current VA Secretary Robert McDonald in his post, McDonald’s track record was likely viewed as too diametrically opposed to Trump’s own vision for the department, making that choice a non-starter.
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