April 26, 2018

Duckworth Statement on Withdrawal of Trump’s VA Secretary Nominee Ronny Jackson


[WASHINGTON, DC] — After Donald Trump’s nominee to be Secretary of Veterans Affairs Ronny Jackson withdrew his nomination after reports of inappropriate workplace behavior, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) released the following statement. Duckworth is a combat Veteran and former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

“President Trump’s firing of Dr. David Shulkin created needless chaos and uncertainty at VA, and his rash decision to replace Dr. Shulkin with someone so clearly unprepared for the job only made the problem worse. VA is the largest integrated healthcare system in the United States with literally hundreds of thousands of employees. Selecting the right person to lead the agency and oversee the administration of hard-earned and well-deserved benefits to our Veterans and their family members is one of the President’s most important responsibilities. In this test, he is failing.

“More than a year into this administration, VA still lacks a top health official to oversee the department’s medical services and someone to lead the sprawling Veterans Benefits Administration. Alarmingly, its new Chief Information Officer – who is supposed to be overseeing a multibillion dollar overhaul of the VA’s medical records – is a Trump political appointee facing a sexual harassment lawsuit from someone he worked with on the President’s campaign.

“It’s clear that Donald Trump’s careless approach to filling critical positions is endangering Veterans’ health and impacting the delivery of their hard-earned benefits. He absolutely must exercise better judgement moving forward by choosing someone who is capable and committed to VA’s mission. The President must also understand that any nominee who will push VA down the dangerous path of privatization is unacceptable.”