"As it turns out, there are secret masters of the government, pulling the strings without the benefit of an election, nomination, or appointment. As a Propublica investigation has discovered, Donald Trump handed off control of the Department of Veterans Affairs to three members of his Mar-a-Lago golf resort. These three have been issuing orders to the people who are supposed to be running the department forming a “previously unknown triumvirate that hovered over public servants without any transparency, accountability or oversight.”
Known within the VA as “the Mar-a-Lago Crowd,” the three were Marvel Entertainment chair Ike Perlmutter, New York attorney Marc Sherman, and Bruce Moskowitz a “concierge” doctor who runs a service catering to the Palm Beach elite.
What reporter Isaac Arnsdorf discovered, through interviews and thousands of documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, is that these three have been ordering members of the VA around for over a year. At the beginning of the year, Trump’s appointment of Ronny Jackson, the doctor who had proclaimed that Trump has “great genes,” as the VA secretary ran into issues when reports of both abuse and incompetence surfaced around Jackson. After leaving the position vacant for month, Trump finally nominated acting director Robert Wilkie in May. But as it turns out, little of that maneuvering matters. Because when Trump wants to talk to the man in charge, he calls Perlmutter.
The documents turned up by Pro Publica don’t just show Perlmutter issuing orders to VA, but reviewing policy, and making personnel selections. VA officials, at taxpayer expense, traveled to Mar-a-Lago to “consult” with Perlmutter and get his approval.
“Everyone has to go down and kiss the ring,” a former administration official said.
If the idea that the chairman of Marvel Entertainment is running the VA makes it sound that there at least might be an injection of creativity into the agency, that’s not this guy. Perlmutter mounted a series of hostile takeovers—Revco, Coleco, Remington—and gained control of Marvel during a series of buyouts and bankruptcies. He was paid $800 million by Disney when that company bought out Marvel, mostly to go away. The company was specifically split in half so that Perlmutter had nothing to do with the films—because he’s famously abusive and bigoted..."