As Expected, Trump Fires VA Secretary David Shulkin, His Replacement Coming As A Big Surprise (By Tweet, Of Course)
The Washington Post aptly describes Trump’s decision to name his own physician to the post as “choosing personal chemistry over traditional qualifications.” Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson has served as the White House doctor in the past 3 administrations. He is a career military officer, with a specialty in undersea medicine, and served as an ER doctor in Iraq. He is probably best known to the public for his effusive praise earlier this year of the President’s physical and mental health.
While Jackson’s medical bona fides are substantial, he has no experience in management. Rumors were Trump was going to appoint “Fox and Friends” host Pete Hesgeth, but that would’ve been too obvious.
Shulkin, Trump’s only holdover from the Obama Administration was done in by two things (that may be somewhat intertwined): a concerted effort by other Trump appointees inside the VA to undermine him, including his closest deputy, and a “travel scandal” involving improperly accepting a gift of Wimbledon tickets and expensing a $4,000 plane ticket for his wife.
Shulkin was in favor of allowing veterans access to medical insurance outside the VA system, when they didn’t have easy access, but didn’t want to go much further toward privatizing the VA system, as others inside the VA would like. (His departure is a victory, and yet another sign of growing influence in the Trump White House of the Koch Brothers, who have made it a big priority of theirs.)
In a blistering Op-Ed in the New York Times, Shulkin argues strongly that privatization “will hurt veterans” and that others in the Trump Administration viewed him as an obstacle “who had to be removed”.
As far as the “travel scandal” goes, that kind of stuff while it should get you fired, in Trumpland it only does if the President wants it to. Trump’s first Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price got fired because of travel abuses. But Scott Pruitt and Ryan Zinke, whom one might argue abused the system (and taxpayers) even more egregiously, are still around.
A Bombshell From The New York Times. Not Really A Surprise, But A Bombshell Nonetheless
The New York Times reports recently departed White House lawyer John Dowd raised the subject of pardons for both former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and Trump campaign Chair Paul Manafort, with their lawyers last year.
The Times says the talks raise question about whether Dowd “was offering pardons to influence their decisions about whether to plead guilty and cooperate in the investigation.”
Meanwhile, Trump Tries To Shift The Focus From Facebook And Russia To Amazon And The Washington Post
Tweeting early this morning:
Trump’s been out to get Amazon, as he says, from long before the election, but in recent days his passion seems to have intensified.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post.
Not much more needs to be said…
Republicans May Have Found A Better Issue To Get People Out To Vote, Or Rather It Found Them
Even if Republicans are successful at making Democrats look bad by not supporting permanent individual tax cuts, that’s still not likely going to get people angry enough to get them to the polls.
But guns just might.
And the N.R.A. and Fox and Trump have all seized on a no-nonsense Op-Ed in the New York Times we told you about yesterday in which retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens said bluntly: “Repeal The 2nd Amendment.”
(Stevens was a Nixon appointee. Nixon also established the E.P.A. Just FYI.)
And the N.R.A. et. al., is using that as proof of what they’ve long said Liberals secretly want to do: take away everybody’s guns. Here’s Trump on it:
Which raises the question: did Stevens possibly just do Democrats a disservice by giving Republicans a strong motivation to vote (and stick with Trump) that they didn’t really have before?
Possibly. Though at the same time, someone was bound to say it; better to get that part of it out of the way now.
Atlanta Recovering From Something That’s Becoming All Too Common: A Ransomware Attack
At time of publication of this newsletter, not all city systems are up and running yet, but much has been restored. At one time many city services–although not emergency services–had been shut down or disabled. Meaning the attackers struck with a great degree of accuracy and intent, and most alarmingly, with apparent ease.
And as usual in attacks of this kind, the “ransom” demanded was not an exorbitant amount of money: in this case about $50,000. Atlanta’s Mayor won’t say if the city paid, or has promised to pay it.
The Chaos Report Is Traveling…So for the next week or two, the format of the report may vary, it’ll probably be shorter, and the time we publish every morning might be a bit off. (So if it’s not in your inbox right at 8 AM EDT, don’t despair, it’s coming…)
As we have when we’ve traveled in the past: we ask for your understanding. We are a very lean operation and when one of our editors travels it always tests our limits, but we hope not your patience. Thank you for your continued support.