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Rep. Walz: Ousted VA Secretary was doing a good job

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Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin
Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin appears before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on March 15, 2018 in Washington, DC. The subcommittee is hearing testimony on U.S. President Donald Trump's proposed FY2019 budget for the Veterans Affairs Department.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

First Congressional District Rep. Tim Walz says ousted Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin was doing a good job. 

President Donald Trump announced in a tweet Wednesday that the White House doctor is replacing Shulkin at the VA. 

Walz, who is the ranking member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, said Shulkin was a good fit, in part because he had the trust of veterans organizations.

Walz took questions from an overflow crowd.
Minnesota First District Congressman Tim Walz took questions from an overflow crowd of constituents February 23, 2017.
Jerry Olson for MPR News 2017

"Dr. Shulkin was doing a good job at the VA. It's a very difficult job," Walz told All Things Considered host Tom Crann. "It's one that takes a very specific skill set to do it. Lots of distractions, of course, just working with this administration."

Shulkin said he opposed efforts within Trump's administration to privatize the VA, and Walz said that may have contributed to his firing.

"The allies that were in the White House forcing the issue of privatization saw Secretary Shulkin as an impediment," Walz said. "They saw him as having the ear of the veterans organizations like the American Legion and the VFW."

In an op-ed in the New York Times, Shulkin wrote "I am convinced that privatization is a political issue aimed at rewarding select people and companies with profits, even if it undermines care for veterans."

After his departure, Shulkin also defended himself against an inspector general's report that was critical of an official trip he and his wife took to Europe paid for with agency dollars.

Shulkin says he repaid the agency.