Donald Trump seems to be cleaning house as he is reportedly considering letting go of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin. This comes after three White House officials were very recently given the pink slip and after Shulkin has been embroiled in controversy after controversy.
Shulkin is accused of being one of the most corrupt officials under the Trump administration, according to Vanity Fair. The VA secretary went on a trip to Europe with his wife in 2017 after he accepted Wimbledon tennis tournament tickets, reported CNBC.
During the trip, Shulkin reportedly went sightseeing and shopping using taxpayers’ money. According to a report by an inspector general, Shulkin had his chief of staff doctor documents to justify why his dermatologist wife, Dr. Merle Bari, was included in the official trip. As a result, the VA “improperly” paid for his wife’s expenses, which amounted to $4,312 of taxpayers’ money.
Furthermore, Shulkin is facing an inquiry by the VA inspector general after a member of his security detail revealed that the secretary asked the complainant to come with him to Home Depot and to carry furniture he purchased there into his home.
Trump is reportedly frustrated with Shulkin after the VA secretary undermined the White House in more than one occasion, according to CNN. Shulkin is also accused of not being a team player as he supposedly refused to work with Trump appointees in his agency.
Trump is rumored to be looking at Energy Secretary Rick Perry as a possible replacement for Shulkin, CNN reported. A source told CNN that Trump and Perry met for lunch at the White House on Monday to talk about the issues surrounding the Veterans Affairs department. During the meeting, Trump and Kelly allegedly discussed the latter’s possible appointment as the new Veterans Affairs secretary.
Shulkin got his start after former President Barack Obama appointed him as undersecretary of Veterans Affair for Health in 2015. He was the only holdover from the previous administration after Trump tapped him as the new VA secretary. Shulkin was the only one among Trump appointees to be unanimously confirmed by the Senate. His impressive start, however, now seems to be in the distant past as controversies have hounded his leadership.
Shulkin is the latest member of the Trump administration to be embroiled in ethics violations.
Ben Carson, the secretary for Housing and Urban Development, was called out after people learned of his plan to purchase a dining set worth $31,000 for his office in Washington. Carson has since rescinded the order and promised to give a “full disclosure” of the supposed purchase.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke also faced criticism after it was revealed that he is spending $139,000 of taxpayers’ money to replace the doors in his office. Zinke is also being investigated for his use of a chartered flight to go home to Montana to the tune of $12,000.
Shulkin has expressed his regret for the distractions that have prevented the VA from focusing on serving veterans. He blamed some officials appointed by Trump as the cause of the drama within the agency, according to New York Times. In fact, Shulkin has moved to fire these Trump appointees before Kelly shut them down.