Donald Trump
US president Donald TrumpNICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

Ending weeks of speculation, US president Donald Trump announced Wednesday that his personal physician, rear admiral Ronny Jackson, will replace veteran affairs secretary David Shulkin.

Trump announced Shulkin's resignation and Jackson's nomination on Twitter.

"I am pleased to announce that I intend to nominate highly respected Admiral Ronny L. Jackson, MD, as the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs," he tweeted.

"In the interim, Hon. Robert Wilkie of DOD will serve as Acting Secretary. I am thankful for Dr. David Shulkin's service to our country and to our GREAT VETERANS!"

Unnamed White House officials told Reuters that Shulkin had become a distraction due to the constant speculation and he would be leaving in a couple of days.

Ronny Jackson
FILE PHOTO: White House, Presidential physician Ronny JacksonReuters

Who is rear admiral Ronny Jackson?

Jackson, a Texas native, has worked as presidential physician to three presidents, including Trump, George W Bush, and Barack Obama. He has been the lead doctor monitoring Trump's health since he became president.

He has been on active duty since 1995 and served with a Marine unit during the war in Iraq.

"Admiral Jackson is highly trained and qualified and as a service member himself, he has seen firsthand the tremendous sacrifice our veterans make and has a deep appreciation for the debt our great country owes them," Trump said, according to Reuters.

David Shulkin
US Veteran's Affairs Secretary David ShulkinReuters

Why was David Shulkin under pressure?

Shulkin, who worked for around 13 months in Trump's cabinet, had been under pressure after a report from an internal watchdog revealed "serious derelictions by VA personnel" on a trip to London and Denmark last year. The report stated that Shulkin accepted Wimbledon tennis tournament tickets during his visit.

"The criticism was making it harder for him to carry out the duties of secretary of the VA, which is something the president has made clear is a big priority for him," Reuters quoted an official as saying.

Departures from Trump's cabinet

Shulkin's departure is the latest this month. Trump had earlier replaced his secretary of state Rex Tillerson and national security advisor HR McMaster.