A high-ranking Trump official was just suddenly fired with no good explanation

A high-ranking Trump official was just suddenly fired with no good explanation
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie awards the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award to small business, large enterprise and public sector employers who were recognized as providing exceptional support for their Guard and Reserve employees at a ceremony held in the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., Aug. 24, 2018. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Michelle Gonzalez)

The Trump era will be remembered for, among many other things, a high turnover in the federal government. And this week, there was yet another departure in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Secretary Robert Wilkie announced the firing of Deputy Secretary James Byrne.


In a statement posted on the VA’s website, Wilkie announced, “Today, I dismissed VA Deputy Secretary James Byrne due to loss of confidence in Mr. Byrne’s ability to carry out his duties. This decision is effective immediately.”

There was no substantive explanation for the major change in the leadership of the department, which is the second-largest in the federal government after the Defense Department.

Byrne was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in September. And his firing, Caitlin Oprysko notes in Politico, underscores the revolving door atmosphere at the VA under Trump:

departure continues a trend of leadership turmoil at President Donald Trump’s Department of Veterans Affairs. The president’s first VA Secretary, David Shulkin, was forced out after questions emerged about taxpayer-funded travels, and his pick to replace Shulkin, then-White House physician Ronny Jackson, withdrew from consideration amid reports of misconduct on the job.

Byrne was the VA’s general counsel before he took the deputy secretary position. And when he was in the private sector, he was an executive at Lockheed Martin.

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