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Tags: david shulkin | toxic | veterans affairs | donald trump

Shulkin Hits 'Toxic' Washington: 'It Should Not Be This Hard to Serve Your Country'

Shulkin Hits 'Toxic' Washington: 'It Should Not Be This Hard to Serve Your Country'
(Reuters)

By    |   Thursday, 29 March 2018 09:37 AM EDT

David Shulkin, the fired Veterans Affairs secretary, took a parting shot in The New York Times on Thursday, blasting the "toxic" environment in the federal government and warning against privatization of the agency.

"Privatization leading to the dismantling of the department's extensive health care system is a terrible idea," Shulkin wrote in the Times. "The department's understanding of service-related health problems, its groundbreaking research and its special ability to work with military veterans cannot be easily replicated in the private sector."

Shulkin also addressed privatization in an interview with NPR released Thursday morning, in which he said that conflict with political appointees within the department who supported privatization contributed to his ousting.

"There are many political appointees in the VA that believe that we are moving in the wrong direction or weren't moving fast enough towards privatizing the VA," he said. "I think that it's essential for national security and for the country that we honor our commitment by having a strong VA. I was not against reforming VA, but I was against privatization."

Shulkin also contended that his recent ethics controversies, including a report from the department's inspector general that found "serious derelictions" by him and senior officials while in Europe last year, were exaggerated and “just being used in a political context to try to make sure that I wasn't as effective as a leader moving forward."

He wrote that these political appointees "saw me as an obstacle to privatization who had to be removed. That is because I am convinced that privatization is a political issue aimed at rewarding select people and companies with profits, even if it undermines care for veterans."

Eventually, "the environment in Washington has turned so toxic, chaotic, disrespectful and subversive that it became impossible for me to accomplish the important work that our veterans need and deserve."

The former secretary concluded: "As I prepare to leave government, I am struck by a recurring thought: It should not be this hard to serve your country."

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Politics
David Shulkin, the fired Veterans Affairs secretary, took a parting shot in The New York Times on Thursday, blasting the "toxic" environment in the federal government and warning against privatization of the agency.
david shulkin, toxic, veterans affairs, donald trump
333
2018-37-29
Thursday, 29 March 2018 09:37 AM
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