May 18, 2018 / 4:10 PM / 3 months ago

Trump to nominate Wilkie to head Department of Veterans Affairs

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

FILE PHOTO: White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders gives a ceremonial check, representing a donation from U.S. President Donald Trump to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), to acting Secretary of the VA Robert Wilkie during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S. May 17, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Wilkie, 55, has been acting secretary of the department since Trump fired Shulkin in March over concerns about unauthorized 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 criticized for the quality of care it provides and the red tape that veterans encounter.

Reporting by Steve Holland and Will Dunham; Editing by Paul Simao and Bill Trott

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