Ex-CIA chief: Trump’s VA nominee will hurt our veterans

Ex-CIA chief: Trump’s VA nominee will hurt our veterans
© Greg Nash

Former CIA chief John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanTrailer shows first look at Annette Bening as Dianne Feinstein Webb: Questions for Robert Mueller A brief timeline of Trump's clashes with intelligence director Dan Coats MORE on Thursday criticized President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch To ward off recession, Trump should keep his mouth and smartphone shut Trump: 'Who is our bigger enemy,' Fed chief or Chinese leader? MORE's decision to name White House physician Adm. Ronny Jackson to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

In a tweet, Brennan said while he personally knows Jackson and can vouch for his skill as a doctor, he thinks Jackson is unqualified to lead the massive agency, the second biggest in the federal government.

Trump announced his pick of Jackson on Thursday in the same tweet declaring the ouster of VA Secretary David ShulkinDavid Jonathon ShulkinPress: Acosta, latest to walk the plank Senior Trump administration official to leave post next week Trump sent policy pitch from Mar-a-Lago member to VA secretary: report MORE, who had been dogged by accusations of travel abuses.

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Jackson has served as the presidential physician since 2013, and made headlines in January when he declared Trump had "good genes" after the president's yearly physical.

White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters defended Jackson's appointment at a press briefing on Thursday, saying Trump chose him for his long career in medicine.

"As I said earlier, the president has full confidence in Adm. Jackson," Walters told reporters.

"The president did have some early individuals that he was looking at but continuously went back to Dr. Jackson to fulfill this role as VA secretary and ultimately decided that his health care experience, his distinguished career in the medical profession, was something that would be beneficial at the VA," she continued.

Brennan, who served as CIA director during the Obama administration, is a frequent critic of the president who accused Trump of being "unstable" and "unethical" in remarks earlier this month.