VA Secretary David Shulkin losing support

Lester Mason
March 14, 2018

Rick Perry, meanwhile, has been Secretary of Energy since last March.

Shulkin, who has been telling the media that Trump political appointees in the Department of Veterans Affairs are trying to undermine him, was reportedly told by Kelly to stop fighting with staff and talking with the media.

In the midst of the controversies, Shulkin has complained that he is the victim of "subversion" from within the VA and at the White House organized by Trump administration political appointees who see him as an obstacle to expansion of the choice program allowing veterans to opt for private health care.

Trump and Perry discussed the possible move during a lunch at the White House Monday.

Kelly did tell Shulkin that he would help him with the issues he was having with staffers at the VA, according to Axios. A series of ill-conceived media contacts, however, may have damaged his relationship with the White House beyond fix, potentially leading to yet another high-profile ouster. Perry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A source familiar with the White House discussions tells The Associated Press that Trump has floated the notion of the Cabinet reshuffle as a way to right the ship at the VA, believing Shulkin has become a distraction to the department's work. But the events of recent weeks made clear to Trump and his associates the importance of naming their own person to the job. After their meeting, Shulkin told The New York Times that he had the full confidence of the White House to fire staffers he felt were disloyal to him.

"The meeting with the President and VA Chief of Staff was productive, supportive and focused exclusively on moving forward in the best interest of our Veterans", Shulkin said in a statement provided to Axios. But officials in the West Wing say that wasn't an accurate way to describe his meeting with Kelly and that afterwards Kelly felt Shulkin had taken advantage of their conversation.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

Discuss This Article