Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie Takes Oath of Office

President Donald Trump, center, shakes hands with new Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie, left, following a ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House, Monday, July 30, 2018, in Washington. Also pictured is Wilkie's wife Julia, right.
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

President Donald Trump’s new Veterans Affairs Secretary, Robert Wilkie, took the oath of office on Monday, vowing to serve the needs of America’s veterans.

Trump attended the ceremony, noting that Wilkie was the son of a veteran who was gravely injured in the Vietnam war.

“It was a price Robert saw firsthand through his own father who was gravely injured in combat during the Vietnam War,” Trump said.

Wilkie marveled at the commitment demonstrated by the president to help veterans.

“I was amazed and stunned by the amount of time the president of the United States spent every week on the phone, in this office, and at dinner talking about their needs, asking about veterans, and showing me a commitment that I have not seen in my 23 years in and out of this business,” Wilkie said.

Wilkie used a Bible that his wife’s grandfather took into battle in World War I for the ceremony and noted that his own great-grandfather served on the same battlefields.

Trump joked that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was disappointed to lose Wilkie, who was an Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness at the Pentagon before he took the job to replace Trump’s first Veterans Affairs Secretary, David Shulkin.

“General Mattis, I’m sorry to have done that, but we have no choice,” he said. “The vets are calling, right?”

Trump vowed to continue fighting for veterans, pointing to his support of the VA Accountability Act and the Veterans Choice Act to help improve their medical care.

“Since day one my administration has been focused on serving the men and women who make freedom possible, our great veterans, these heroes deserve the best and they will have it under Robert Wilkie,” Trump said. “I have no doubt about it.”

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