White House physician Ronny Jackson has been nominated to be US Veterans affairs Secretary.President Donald Trump has fired Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin and nominated White House doctor Ronny Jackson to replace him in the wake of a bruising ethics scandal and a mounting rebellion within the agency.
A Navy rear admiral, Dr Jackson is a surprise choice to succeed Mr Shulkin, a former Obama administration official and the first non-veteran to head the VA.
Trump had been considering replacements for Shulkin for weeks but had not been known to be considering Dr Jackson for the role.
In a statement, Trump praised Dr Jackson as “highly trained and qualified”.
It was a decision that signalled Trump chose to go with someone he knows and trusts, rather than the candidate with the longest resume, to run a massive agency facing huge bureaucratic challenges.
Dr Jackson has served since 2013 as the physician to the president, and gained a national profile earlier this year for holding a sweeping press conference on the president’s health.
Trump has selected Robert Wilkie, the under secretary of defence for personnel and readiness, to serve as the acting head of Veterans Affairs.
It is the government’s second largest department, responsible for nine million military veterans in more than 1700 government-run health facilities.
Shulkin had continued to insist he had the full confidence of the White House amid continuing investigations over his travel and leadership of the department.
He had agreed to reimburse the government more than $US4000 ($A5600) after the VA’s internal watchdog concluded last month he had improperly accepted Wimbledon tennis tickets and that his then-chief of staff had doctored emails to justify his wife travelling to Europe with him at taxpayer expense.
It was the latest in a series of departures for top administration officials, including secretary of state Rex Tillerson, who was fired by Mr Trump earlier this month.