Donald Trump held his first press conference as President Elect today, and he named Marvel CEO Isaac "Ike" Perlmutter shortly after naming David Shulkin as his Veterans Affairs Secretary. Perlmutter has been rumored to be in line for a position related to Veterans' health care in the Trump administration, as reported by Bleeding Cool last weekend. Here's what Trump had to say about Ike, who will apparently be working with a team under Shulkin on veterans health care:
Ike Perlmutter has been very very involved. One of the great men of business. We're gonna straighten out the VA for our veterans. I've been promising that for a long time.
Perlmutter, who donated heavily to Trump's campaign, recently met with the President Elect at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach Florida, resulting in the first photo of the reclusive Marvel billionaire in decades. Perlmutter, a veteran of Israel's Six Day War, and his wife, Laura Perlmutter, are longtime supporters of hospitals through charity, including donating $50 million to NYU's Langone Medical Center, resulting in the university naming the center's cancer wing after the Perlmutters. Laura Perlmutter also worked at the hospital as a volunteer. Perlmutter is expected to become a "key advisor on Veterans health care." Laura Perlmutter also serves on Trump's inauguration committee.
Perlmutter's involvement with Donald Trump, which includes a close friendship and Thanksgiving dinners, has ruffled feathers in the comics community, beginning after Perlmutter's donation of one million dollars to a Trump charity/publicity event that competed with a Republican primary debate Trump was not attending. Despite widespread anti-trump sentiment amongst many of Marvel's staff and contributors on social media, no one associated with Marvel has taken any action in protest of the CEO's involvement that we know of. However, it will be interesting to see how closely Perlmutter and Trump can become publicly involved before that changes. After Trump's victory in the election last year, several prominent comic book creators vowed to take action, including some such as George Perez and Humberto Ramos saying they won't attend comic book conventions in states that voted for Trump for the duration of his presidency.
Here's the full portion of Trump's press conference about the VA:
Speaking of veterans, I appointed today the head secretary of the Veterans Administration, David Shulkin. We'll do a news release in a little while, tell you about David. He's fantastic. He's fantastic. He will do a truly great job.
One of the commitments I made is that we're gonna straighten out the whole situation for our veterans. Our veterans have been treated horribly. They're waiting in line for fifteen, sixteen, seventeen days. Cases where they go in and they have a minor, early stage form of cancer and they can't see a doctor. By the time they get to a doctor they're terminal. It's not gonna happen. Not gonna happen.
So David is going to do a fantastic job. We're going to be talking to a few people also to help David. We have some of the great hospitals in the world going to align with us on the Veterans Administration. Like the Cleveland Clinic. Like the Mayo Clinic. A few more that we have. And we're gonna set up a group. These are hospitals that have been the top of the line. The absolute top of the line.
And they're going to get together with their great doctors. Doctor Toby Cosgrove as you know from the Cleveland Clinic has been very involved. Ike Perlmutter has been very very involved. One of the great men of business. And we're gonna straighten out the VA for our veterans. I've been promising that for a long time.
And it's something I feel very very strongly, so you'll get the information on David, and I think you'll be very impressed with the job he does. We looked long and hard. We interviewed at least a hundred people. Some good, some not so good. But we had a lot of talent. And we think that this election will be something that will, with time, straighten it out. And straighten it out for good. Because our veterans have been treated very unfairly.