Former US veteran secretary David Shulkin talks about what it's like to be in President Trump's cabinet and what the president is doing right.
Jarrad Henderson / USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – Recently released VA secretary David Shulkin says President Trump is doing a good job demanding excellence from members of his cabinet, but a better team needs success ,
"I do not think he is well served by all the people around him," Shulkin said to USA TODAY. "As a great organization that you need to run, you need the right people around you with the right team, and we see that with all the sales and the various things happening in the White House, that's still going on He tries to find out. "
He said that the president has every right to have the people he trusts and wants to hear about. "But I think many of the things we see and struggle with have a lot to do with building this team and the people around them," he said.
Shulkin spent a little more than a year in Trump's cabinet the president fired him on Wednesday and announced the news in a tweet. He was the only remnant of the Obama administration in the Cabinet and the third member since Trump's inauguration. He was also the most public journeyman on the way out.
He conducted a series of television interviews and wrote a statement for the New York Times warning of the privatization of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The president proposed Thursday that Shulkin partially be dropped because he did not agree with his vision of rapidly expanding the ability of veterans to obtain VA-funded care in the private sector.
Shulkin said that although this was an important campaign pledge in an interview with USA TODAY, it was not the focus of his talks with Trump, who led to his election as Secretary in January last year.
"We talked about the basic need to repair the VA – which he felt passionate about. Veterans did not get the kind of services and care they needed, and I agreed," he said.
Shulkin put his experience in the agency – he had been Secretary of State for Health since July 2015 – and his belief that he could accelerate the pace of agency improvements. But in the end, it was not fast enough for the president, and Shulkin said he agreed.
"I'm impatient, he's impatient, the country is impatient, we all want to do it faster and better," he said. Still, he said that the size of the organization and the fact that problems have been imprinted for so many years make it difficult to make corrections.
"You can not make a penny fast and see the kind of progress that people want in the timeframe you always want," he said.
Being in Trump's Cabinet
Shulkin said the president had often called him and talked politics. He said in cabinet meetings that Trump had always been very curious and committed.
"One has the feeling that he has a sense of how he manages the government and that he wants to hear from you as a cabinet member," he said
And Trump was always very straightforward as he wanted.
"You never leave a Cabinet meeting without a clear direction," Shulkin said.
He did not say whether the president is changing or mistaking (19659008) On Wednesday, Shulkin said he had received a phone call from Trump and they discussed the VA guidelines and whether it was possible to accelerate the pace of improvement accelerate the agency. The president did not mention that he planned to release him in a few hours. This job was left to the White House chief of staff, John Kelly.
"Later that afternoon, toward the end of the day, I received a call from General Kelly, who said the President had made a decision," Shulkin said. "It was a very short time later that the President tweeted."
About His Elected Substitute
Shulkin, a doctor who still saw patients in charge of the VA, is friends with Trump's decision to take over the agency. White House Doctor and Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson. He said they met when Shulkin joined the VA in 2015. Jackson previously served as President of President Obama and George W. Bush.
"We have not spent much time talking about politics and politics, but about things friends talk about, and about things doctors talk about," he said. "I think he is a very honorable man, he is a great public servant."
The main concern Jackson has publicly addressed was his lack of management experience. The VA has more than 370,000 employees and 1,200 medical facilities across the country. But Shulkin said experience is not important.
"One of the most important features of a Cabinet Member is now to have the President's confidence," he said.
"I believe Dr. Jackson to be successful in building a strong team around him, this job is such a big job that I do not think anyone is willing to lead an organization of this size, as complex as that is, so it's about a team that delivers results, and I think Dr. Jackson can do that. "
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