Former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said Monday that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly gave him a warning that President Trump was going to tweet something, but not offered the chance to resign.

“I received a phone call saying that the president wanted to make a change — and that’s certainly his prerogative to do that — and that’s what happened,” Mr. Shulkin said on CNN.

He said Mr. Kelly gave him a “heads up” that the president would likely tweet out a message in the “very near future.” Mr. Trump sent the tweet last week announcing Mr. Shulkin’s termination.

Mr. Trump announced that Mr. Shulkin would be replaced at the VA by Robert Wilkie, an official at the Department of Defense, temporarily rather than Mr. Shulkin’s deputy.

“The Vacancy Act is a very complex piece of legislation where I think that there’s not complete clarity on what happens next. I think that’s something that the administration will just need to figure out, and I’m sure that they’ll do the right thing,” Mr. Shulkin said.

The Federal Vacancies Reform Act does give the president the authority to fill the replacement at an agency if the current leader dies, resigns or cannot carry out the requirements for the department. The question of whether this holds for terminations is under debate as the language is vague.

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