Is it John Kelly's turn to run the VA next?

Jonathan Kaupanger
April 30, 2018 - 11:04 am

Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Pool/Sipa USA

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If the Washington, DC buzz is correct, White House chief of staff John Kelly might be the next VA secretary.

Word in the Capitol is that President Trump wants to move Kelly and has felt like this for a few months now.  The collapse and withdrawal of Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson as the next head of Veterans Affairs has given Trump that opportunity as well as saving face for Kelly.

“They’re looking for a place for Kelly to land that won’t be embarrassing for him,” according to reports by Vanity Fair. This would both benefit Kelly and the VA by “putting a qualified official in charge of the sprawling department.”  The hold up, at least according to White House insiders interviewed by Vanity Fair, is that Trump hasn’t settled on a successor for Kelly.

Reports on the growing conflict between the president and chief of staff have been widely reportedWith at least one heated argument causing Kelly to start boxing up his personal belongings from his office. CNN has even reported recently that Kelly has all but given up control to the president, something that reminds some of Reince Priebus’ last days as chief of staff.

For his part, Jackson has moved back to the White House’s medical unit, but will not go back to being the president’s personal physician, according to Politico. Sean Conley, the Navy officer who took over from Jackson will continue as the presidential doctor. 

The White House released this statement about Jackson, “Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson is currently on active duty, assigned to the White House as Deputy Assistant to the president. Despite published reports, there are no personnel announcements at this time.”