CNN’s Chris Cuomo went up against former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski on “New Day” Thursday, to challenge President Donald Trump’s pick for Veterans Affairs Secretary.
Trump announced Wednesday that Adm. Ronny Jackson, who is a doctor, would be replacing Dr. David Shulkin, but Cuomo took issue with Jackson’s lack of “management experience.”
“I know admiral Jackson is career military officer. He served under two presidents as White House physician. He is a man who understands the VA because he has used it for his entire professional career as it relates to health care and understands the problems that veterans face,” Lewandowski said. “If we want somebody who understands the problems that veterans face, who better than an active duty military officer who is going to retire and then take over this position if he’s confirmed by the Senate, to understand the problems that veterans face.”
“Part of the answer to that question would be someone who’s managed something before,” Cuomo said. “Let alone the second biggest bureaucracy of 377,000 plus employees and about $250 billion flowing through it. Do you know of any management experience of anything near that scale that the admiral has?”
Trump is aiming to shake things up and buck previous presidential trends by tapping someone with a fresh perspective on the problem of veterans, Lewandowski said.
“I think if you look back and you look at the previous VA Secretaries, those who have supposedly had management experience who’ve come in, we’ve seen disasters under their regimes,” Lewandowski replied. “If you look at the tragedies that took place in Phoenix, Arizona, from a VA Secretary who supposedly had management experience. That didn’t help save the lives for the veterans who waited for care in Phoenix, Arizona.”
“What this president is doing is taking a military person who understands the problems of care as it relates to the VA,” he added. “We can criticize the admiral if we want to for his lack of leadership experience. But previous leadership experience of large agencies does not directly correlate to getting the veterans the care that they need.”
“That’s a fair point,” Cuomo said. “It doesn’t mean that having management experience is a negative. Right? Knowing what the problem is matters. Knowing how to fix it how to manage it has to matter, Corey, it just does. You can’t argue that. What we’ve seen it in past is that management experience led to bad outcomes, so we don’t want someone with management experience. That’s silly.”
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