Trump eyes Rick Perry to replace VA secretary

Trump eyes Rick Perry to replace VA secretary

President Trump, fresh off replacing his secretary of state and C.I.A. director, is considering firing his secretary of veterans affairs and installing Energy Secretary Rick Perry in the post, according to two people close to the White House. The trip was treated as an official tour in line with his government duties, but he reportedly spent much of it sightseeing, and his wife accompanied him on a ticket paid for by agency funds.

However, Kelly was reportedly blindsided when Shulkin later spoke with The New York Times about the issues within the VA.

A politically moderate former hospital executive who also served in the Obama administration, Dr. Shulkin had been one of Mr. Trump's most popular cabinet secretaries, both in the White House and on Capitol Hill. The chief of staff was reportedly infuriated by that quote and saw it as an attempt to take advantage of the meeting.

The recent reports also come as Shulkin faces scrutiny over allegations that he improperly used taxpayer dollars.

Senior administration officials say Shulkin is increasingly on thin ice with the president after a bruising internal report found ethics violations in connection with the secretary's trip to Europe with his wife last summer.

By December, relations at the VA between Shulkin and several political appointees began to fray over philosophical differences.


The email to Sandoval alluded to White House efforts to gain more control, including ousting Shulkin's chief of staff, and said the secretary had been "put on notice to exit" once the administration gets the Choice legislation through Congress. Russian Federation concedes "dozens" of civilians injured in Syria clash MORE to the White House last week and told him to stop creating drama in his agency, Axios reported Sunday.

At a January 17 hearing, Sen. A grim Shulkin denied the accusation, but the White House was later forced to clarify its position on the bill due to lawmaker confusion.

The dispute spilled into public over the last month, following a scathing report by department's inspector general on a business trip that Dr. Shulkin took to Britain and Denmark previous year.

Shulkin's chief of staff who helped arrange the travel plans, Vivieca Wright Simpson, resigned days after the scandal broke.

For now, Shulkin appears to be hanging on.

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