Former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said Thursday that political chaos in the agency, largely sparked by the fight over privatization of veterans services, played a role in President Donald Trump\u2019s decision to remove him from the job.\nThe president announced Wednesday that he was replacing Shulkin — an Obama administration holdover who opposed the complete privatization of veterans\u2019 health care and other services — with the White House physician, Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson.\nShulkin blamed the internal push for privatization in the months leading up to his departure on Trump political appointees, claiming the officials \u201chave agendas of their own\u201d and saw Shulkin as a threat. He also suggested the appointees weren’t taking direct orders from the president. Shulkin did not specify which appointees he was referencing.\n\u201cI just don\u2019t see privatization as a good thing for veterans,\u201d Shulkin said in an interview with the PBS NewsHour\u2019s Judy Woodruff.\n\u201cI think that those that are really sticking to a political ideology or are doing this for other reasons, like financial reasons, don\u2019t have the interests of veterans at heart,\u201d he added.\nOther highlights from the interview:\n\nShulkin called Jackson \u201ca very honorable man,\u201d though he also said he was unfamiliar with Jackson\u2019s policy stances.\n\n\u201cI certainly hope that he\u2019s going to continue the work that I\u2019ve been doing to move the department, to transform it in a better way,\u201d Shulkin said. \u201cAnd I will certainly do everything that I can to help Dr. Jackson succeed in that role.\u201d\nTrump has named a high-level Defense Department official, Robert Wilkie, to run the Department of Veterans Affairs on an acting basis.\n\nShulkin also downplayed a report from the department\u2019s inspector general that asserted that he misused government funds for activities during an official trip last year to Europe. He said he repaid the government for the costs that were in dispute.\n\n\u201cI think that this was, really, all about the politics, and really not about the substance of the issue. I certainly take taxpayer dollars very seriously. I have a high level of concern for making sure that we are using our money for veteran issues,\u201d Shulkin said.