Trump’s new VA chief plans to retool agency leadership: report

Greg Nash

President Trump’s new Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert Wilkie is planning a series of personnel moves at the department after he is sworn in on Monday, according to a Washington Post report.

Wilkie will seek to reassign and sideline a number of political appointees, who have been blamed for dwindling morale among VA’s career employees, the Post reported. 

That includes acting secretary Peter O’Rourke and much of his leadership team. O’Rourke drew scrutiny for allegedly politicizing the agency. The Post reported earlier this month that he had moved to purge or reassign employees deemed insufficiently loyal to Trump. 


According to the Post, O’Rourke is expected to be reassigned to a role overseeing an office examining ways to improve VA operations. 

Jacquelyn Hayes-Byrd, the department’s acting chief of staff, is also expected to be reassigned. She was charged with reassigning many civil servants at the agency. 

Wilkie is also looking to create his own leadership team at the agency, and spoke to Trump about the proposed changes during a flight to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Missouri last week.

Personnel changes could begin as early as this week, the Post reported. Those changes, however, would need to be signed off on by the White House Personnel Office.

In a statement, VA press secretary Curt Cashour said that the department has “no personnel announcements at this time.”

Tags Donald Trump Donald Trump Robert Wilkie Veterans Affairs

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