Shulkin on VA ouster: Trump 'wasn't happy with the pace'

Ousted Veterans Affairs Secretary David ShulkinDavid Jonathon ShulkinBiden's nominee for VA secretary isn't a veteran — does it matter? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Congress slogs toward COVID-19 relief, omnibus deal A crisis that unites veterans MORE said Thursday that he was fired because President TrumpDonald TrumpKushner lands book deal, slated for release in 2022 Biden moves to undo Trump trade legacy with EU deal Progressives rave over Harrison's start at DNC MORE was unhappy with the pace of improvements at the agency.

In an interview with Fox News, Shulkin said he agreed with Trump's perception that the department was not doing enough to improve wait times for veterans seeking care at VA hospitals around the country.


"He wasn't happy with the pace and you know, I agree with POTUS. This is [an] organization that needs to change, it needs to do better at its job and we all want to do it faster and better," Shulkin told Fox News's Bret Baier.

Shulkin also defended his firing, saying that the president had the right to surround himself with people he thinks can do the job best.

"Every Cabinet member serves at the pleasure of the president and it's the president's prerogative to have a team around him that he thinks is doing the job," said Shulkin.

Shulkin was ousted Wednesday by Trump, who appointed White House physician and Navy doctor Adm. Ronny Jackson to lead the agency, where Shulkin had reportedly been growing increasingly isolated from top aides for months.

In an op-ed after his firing, the former top VA official who was originally appointed during the Obama administration blasted the "toxic" and "chaotic" culture in Washington, D.C.

"As I prepare to leave government, I am struck by a recurring thought: It should not be this hard to serve your country," Shulkin wrote in The New York Times.

Trump, meanwhile, praised Shulkin's service to the country in a series of tweets announcing Jackson's appointment.

"I am thankful for Dr. David Shulkin’s service to our country and to our GREAT VETERANS!" the president tweeted Wednesday.