President Donald Trump made a surprise announcement on Friday, revealing that he would nominate Acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie to serve in the official position.
Trump welcomed Wilke at an event on prison reform, praising his job in the position before revealing his decision.
“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.
Wilke stood up immediately and shook Trump’s hand as the rest of the president’s cabinet stood and applauded.
“I’m sorry that I ruined the surprise,” Trump said jokingly. “But we’ll see you anyway.”
Wilkie was the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness before he was named acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs after Trump fired then-Secretary David Shulkin. He was the Assistant Secretary of Defense for both Robert Gates and Donald Rumsfeld during his career in the Pentagon.