Earlier this week, it was announced that embattled VA Secretary David Shulkin was out and President Donald Trump was nominating White House physician Ronny Jackson to replace Shulkin. Since then, Shulkin has said that he was fired by Chief of Staff John Kelly minutes before Trump tweeted out the news, adding that he actually spoke with Trump that day and wasn’t informed his ouster was coming.
While it seemed apparent to everyone that Shulkin — who was battling controversy — was fired, the White House is now arguing that Shulkin actually resigned and wasn’t kicked to the curb.
In response to a Politico piece about the legal issues surrounding Trump tapping Defense Department official Robert Wilkie to serve as acting leader of the VA instead of the deputy VA secretary, White House spokesperson Lindsey Walters said the following:
“Secretary Shulkin resigned from his position as Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.”
As Politico noted, this runs counter to the accepted narrative that Shulkin was fired, something that the White House had seemed comfortable with over the past few days as numerous media outlets reported it as a termination. Meanwhile, the White House wouldn’t elaborate on this new assertion that Shulkin resigned.
A person close to Shulkin pushed back against the claim, telling Politico that Shulkin did not submit a resignation letter and that his removal occurred so fast that he was unable to go back to his office to address employees.
[image via screengrab]
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