Trump to nominate Wilkie to head Department of Veterans Affairs

Acting Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, on May 17, 2018.
Acting Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, on May 17, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - President Donald Trump said on Friday (May 18) he will nominate Robert Wilkie to be secretary of the US Department of Veterans Affairs, replacing David Shulkin, who was pushed out amid alleged ethics problems.

Wilkie, 55, has been acting secretary of the department since Trump fired Shulkin in March over concerns about unauthorised travel expenses.

The Republican president's first choice to replace Shulkin, Trump's physician Ronny Jackson, withdrew from consideration last month after allegations that he had been lax with prescription drugs and drank alcohol on the job.

Jackson denied the allegations but faced questions in the Senate confirmation process over whether he had enough experience for the job.

Wilkie successfully went through the Senate confirmation process last year after Trump nominated him to be undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.

The veterans agency has long been criticised for the quality of care it provides and the red tape that veterans encounter.