Robert Wilkie

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Robert Wilkie
10th United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs
In office
July 30, 2018 – January 20, 2021
PresidentDonald Trump
DeputyJames Byrne
Preceded byDavid Shulkin
Succeeded byDenis McDonough
In office
March 28, 2018 – May 29, 2018
PresidentDonald Trump
DeputyThomas G. Bowman
Preceded byDavid Shulkin
Succeeded byPeter O'Rourke (Acting)
Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness
In office
November 30, 2017 – July 23, 2018
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byJessica L. Wright
Succeeded byTBD
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs
In office
September 30, 2006 – January 19, 2009
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byDan Stanley
Succeeded byElizabeth King
Personal details
Robert Leon Wilkie Jr.

(1962-08-06) August 6, 1962 (age 61)
Frankfurt, Germany
Political partyRepublican
EducationWake Forest University (BA)
Loyola University New Orleans (JD)
Georgetown University (LLM)
United States Army War College (MS)

Robert Leon Wilkie Jr. (born August 2, 1962[1]) is an American lawyer and government official. He was the 10th United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs from July 30, 2018 to January 20, 2021. He was the acting Secretary from March 28, 2018 to May 29, 2018, while serving as the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness from November 30, 2017 until July 2018.[2]

On May 18, 2018, President Trump announced that he was nominating Wilkie to hold the job full time of United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs.[3] On July 23, 2018, Wilkie was confirmed by the United States Senate as the next Secretary of Veterans Affairs by a 86-9 vote.[4]

Early life[change | change source]

Wilkie was born in Frankfurt, West Germany. He grew up in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.[5]

Wilkie Jr. received his B.A. degree from the Wake Forest University in North Carolina. He also studied at Loyola University School of Law in New Orleans in 1988 and at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C..

Early career[change | change source]

Wilkie began his professional career on Capitol Hill as Counsel to Jesse Helms. In 1997, he began service as counsel and advisor on international security affairs to Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott.

Wilkie served as special assistant to the President for national security affairs and a senior director of the National Security Council where he was a senior policy advisor to then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.[6]

Wilkie was nominated to be Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness by President Donald Trump on July 25, 2017. This nomination was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on November 16, 2017.[7] Wilkie was a Senior Advisor to U.S. Senator Thom Tillis.[8]

Secretary of Veterans Affairs (2018–2021)[change | change source]

Wilkie was nominated to be Secretary of Veterans Afairs by President Trump on May 29, 2018. He was to replace fired Secretary David Shulkin. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 23, 2018, in a 86-9 vote. He was sworn-in on July 30.

Pro-Confederate speeches[change | change source]

Wilkie praised Confederate President Jefferson Davis as a "martyr" and an "exceptional man in an exceptional age" in a 1995 speech at the United States Capitol.[9]

Awards[change | change source]

In 2009, Defense Secretary Robert Gates awarded him the Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest civilian award of the Department.[10]

References[change | change source]

  2. "Fayetteville native Robert Wilkie confirmed by unanimous consent by U.S. Senate". The Fayetteville Observer. November 2017. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
  3. "President Trump announces he's nominating Acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie to lead agency". May 2018. Archived from the original on 2018-05-22. Retrieved 2018-05-18.
  4. "Senate Confirms Pentagon Official To Head Veterans Affairs Department". NPR. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
  5. "LTC Robert Leon Wilkie Sr.". The New Orleans Advocate. May 2017. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
  6. "United States Department of Defense".
  7. "PN813 — Robert L. Wilkie — Department of Defense". U.S. Congress. November 16, 2017. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
  8. "U.S. Senate: 404 Error Page". Archived from the original on 2015-06-09. Retrieved 2018-07-24.
  9. Kaczynski, Andrew (December 7, 2018). "VA secretary praised Confederate president as a "martyr to 'The Lost Cause'" in 1995 speech". CNN. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  10. Murphy, Brian (July 20, 2017). "Trump taps Tillis aide for Pentagon post". McClatchy DC. Retrieved August 2, 2017.

Other websites[change | change source]