For the third time, President Trump fired a key member of his cabinet by twitter.
David Shulkin found out that he had been fired when he was made aware of a Trump Tweet.
Shulkin stated during Sunday interviews that he was surprised by his termination, as he had spoken with the President only a few hours earlier, and everything seemed to be fine. According to Shulkin, Trump gave no indication of any pending issues, or that he wasn’t happy with his performance.
….In the interim, Hon. Robert Wilkie of DOD will serve as Acting Secretary. I am thankful for Dr. David Shulkin’s service to our country and to our GREAT VETERANS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2018
The White House originally claimed that Shulkin resigned his Secretary position, but Shulkin was adamant during Sunday talk shows that he did not, and would never have never resigned.
By firing Secretary Shulkin and naming a temporary successor, Trump violated the Vacancies Reform Act which requires the Deputy Secretary to fill the position. Had Shulkin actually resigned as reported by the White House, Trump would have been free to assign a replacement. But as previously stated, Shulkin did not resign and hence, Trump is not able to pick who runs the agency in the immediate future.
This may become a real problem if Trump’s pick, Robert Wilkie, actually assumes control of the VA. Anything action Wilkie may take could later be contested on grounds that he should never have been in charge in the first place. According to law, the Deputy Secretary should fill the void.
Shulkin has been the third of recent significant terminations by Trump via Twitter. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, National Security Advisor H.R, McMaster and Shulkin were notified a tweet was imminent, and then read of their ouster at the same time as millions of others found out.
Trump did not have the courage or courtesy to talk his former staff members to wish them well, or to thank them for their service.