Robert Wilkie nominated to head VA in surprise announcement by Pres. Trump
By: Erin Johnson, Xiro Xone News May 18, 2018 Updated: 4:01 PM PT
On Friday, the President announced Robert Wilkie as his pick to head the Department of Veteran Affairs. Wilkie became the acting Secretary when former secretary David Shulkin was unceremoniously fired by President Trump. Robert Wilkie is, “A worthy replacement for Jackson,” said Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C.
The surprised announcement came as the president was speaking during a summit on prison reform at the White House saying, “I’ll be informing him in a little while. He doesn’t know this yet that we’re going to be putting his name up for nomination to be secretary of the Veterans Administration,” Trump said.
Some are concerned that the pick of Wilkie was not thought through properly if, indeed, the president never had a conversation with him to see if they were on the same page or if Wilkie wanted the job.
Wilkie, the 55 year old republican attempted a congressional nomination in 1996. He was also once in the Air Force and Navy reserve. He obtained a Masters in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College. He also attended Georgetown University and Wake Forest. From 1997 until 2003, Wilke worked for former Majority Leader Trent Lott and Senator Jesse Helms, according to the Raleigh News & observer.
In 2010, Wilke took a job working for a global engineering company for several years before returning to government. There was no word on Wilkie’s confirmation hearing date. It will more than likely be scheduled quickly since Wilkie went through senate confirmation for undersecretary at the defense department.
Marvel Entertainment chief executive Ike Perlmutter, who is President Trump’s unofficial advisor on veteran issues, met with Wilkie at Trump’s private club in Mar-a-Largo prior to the announcement.
Some veterans are concerned as to why the president would have someone who has no medical or military experience advising him on veteran issues.
Perlmutter heads the print and tv half of the iconic comic book brand. In recent years his relationship with the movie franchise ended due to creative differences with Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios, and Disney Studios Chief Alan Horn.
Two prominent veteran groups AMVETS and VoteVets.org raised concern when the president fired former VA Secretary Shulkin, overlooked VA Deputy Secretary Thomas Brown, and put Wilkie temporarily in charge of the department.