STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Vets group asks Trump to 'reconsider' acting VA secretary

The leader of a major veterans group is urging President Donald Trump to "reconsider" his appointment of a Defense De...

Posted: Apr 3, 2018 7:17 PM
Updated: Apr 3, 2018 7:17 PM

The leader of a major veterans group is urging President Donald Trump to "reconsider" his appointment of a Defense Department official to serve as the acting secretary of Veterans Affairs amid a brewing controversy over the departure of former VA Secretary David Shulkin last week.

In a letter obtained by CNN and sent to the White House on Tuesday, AMVETS national commander Marion Polk wrote to Trump that "as the VA's second in command, the law predesignates" Deputy VA Secretary Thomas Bowman to serve as acting secretary "as prescribed by federal law."

The push from one of the nation's major veterans groups comes as the White House and Shulkin are in a dispute over whether Shulkin was fired or resigned his job last week. Shulkin has repeatedly said he was fired, while the White House has said he resigned.

The distinction between the two has raised legal questions about whether the President has the authority to install a replacement of his choice for a Cabinet secretary if the official is fired.

The Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 gives the President broad authority to temporarily fill a federal agency vacancy if the person holding the job dies, resigns or is unable to perform the functions and duties of their office. The law, though, does not explicitly say that the President retains that authority if the official is fired.

Trump tweeted last week that Robert Wilkie, a Defense Department official, would serve as acting secretary.

The President has nominated White House physician Ronny Jackson to permanently lead the department. He awaits confirmation in the Senate.

"While Mr. Wilike may be a very bright person and leader, he does not know the VA or its problems. He's at square one, as any outsider would be," Polk wrote. "And while there's no doubt he would grow into the position over time, veterans don't have that time."

Polk also said that Bowman is an "exceedingly qualified and experienced public servant intimately familiar with the VA and currently holding the position federal law designates to become acting secretary."

"Sidestepping Bowman in favor of an outsider wholly unfamiliar with the VA is a confusing choice that only serves to erode confidence in the VA as an institution during this critical time," Polk added.

Veterans groups, including AMVETS, were largely supportive of Shulkin and had implored the White House to keep him in the role. Many have expressed concerns publicly about Trump's selection of Jackson to lead VA, the federal government's second largest agency, saying that Jackson may not have adequate management experience.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 32078

Reported Deaths: 2004
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9268539
Lake3320168
Cass15826
Allen130966
St. Joseph120534
Hendricks113067
Hamilton111592
Johnson1086104
Elkhart105728
Madison58258
Porter49021
Bartholomew48133
Clark46138
LaPorte41522
Tippecanoe3753
Jackson3671
Howard36519
Delaware35735
Hancock32127
Shelby31521
Floyd31438
Boone28835
Morgan26224
Vanderburgh2482
Montgomery23117
White2268
Decatur22431
Clinton2221
Grant19121
Noble18921
Harrison18721
Dubois1852
Greene16724
Warrick16426
Dearborn16421
Henry1619
Monroe16011
Vigo1477
Lawrence14423
Miami1391
Putnam1337
Jennings1274
Orange12422
Scott1183
Ripley1126
Franklin1068
Kosciusko941
Carroll922
Daviess8216
Steuben802
Marshall761
Newton7410
Wabash722
Wayne715
Fayette684
LaGrange602
Jasper581
Washington521
Fulton471
Rush452
Jay440
Randolph433
Jefferson411
Whitley402
Pulaski390
Clay391
Owen341
Brown331
Sullivan321
Starke313
DeKalb311
Perry260
Huntington262
Knox250
Tipton251
Benton250
Wells240
Crawford230
Blackford211
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Spencer171
Posey170
Parke170
Gibson142
Ohio130
Warren121
Adams121
Vermillion90
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0154
West Lafayette
Few Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 68°
Kokomo
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 68°
Rensselaer
Scattered Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 66°
Fowler
Scattered Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 66°
Williamsport
Overcast
67° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 67°
Crawfordsville
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 62°
Frankfort
Scattered Clouds
67° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 67°
Delphi
Broken Clouds
65° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 65°
Monticello
Broken Clouds
65° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 65°
Logansport
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 66°
Some more storms ahead....
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events