Trump Picks Robert Wilkie to Head VA

WASHINGTON (AP) -
Robert Wilkie
Acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie delivered a brief statement Thursday during the daily news conference at the White House, thanking President Donald Trump for the gift of his salary to “caregiver support in the form of mental health and peer support programs.” (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie is President Donald Trump’s pick to permanently lead the beleaguered department.

Wilkie is a former Pentagon undersecretary for personnel and readiness. He’s led the agency for two months, ever since Trump fired David Shulkin amid an internal revolt and questions about his compliance with ethics rules.

Wilkie appeared in the White House press briefing room Thursday to accept a check for the amount of Trump’s first-quarter salary, which he donated to the agency. Trump has pledged to return his entire salary to the federal government, and has used the symbolic check handover quarterly to highlight his administration’s policy efforts.

Trump revealed his decision Friday during a prison reform event at the White House. Trump previously nominated White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson for the job, but he withdrew last month.