Sources Say That Trump Is Preparing To Fire Veteran Affairs Secretary Shulkin
On Sunday, three administration officials confirmed that President Trump is planning on firing Secretary of Veteran Affairs David Shulkin, the Associated Press reports. This news comes after weeks of speculation on Shulkin’s possible firing due to his alleged spending abuses and overall corruption. While the firing is not a done deal, it would be in line with information reported from Trump’s friend, Newsmax Media CEO Chris Ruddy, who said that the president expects “one or two major changes” soon.
“Now, other White House sources, not the president, tell me that Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin is likely to depart the Cabinet very soon,” said Chris Ruddy.
Secretary Shulkin has come under fire in recent weeks after the internal watchdog of Veteran Affairs reported that Shulkin had doctored e-mails to justify his wife travelling to Europe on taxpayer dime as well as improperly accepting Wimbledon tickets, the Chicago Tribune reports. Sources familiar with White House discussions say that the president increasingly viewed Shulkin’s alleged improprieties as a distraction from the work he and his team are trying to accomplish. Because of this, the White House started floating names for his Shulkin’s possible replacement such as Fox & Friends contributor Pete Hegseth.
As of today, neither the White House nor President Trump himself has immediately commented on the reports of Shulkin’s possible firing. As far as the timeline, two officials told AP that an announcement on Shulkin’s case could happen as soon as this week, depending on Trump’s approval of a suitable replacement. One source described the chances of Shulkin going in the next day or two as “50-50.” Others contend that he may last until the end of the week. After all, a decent amount of high-profile White House firings have happened on Fridays, CNN reports.
Secretary Shulkin’s improprieties with taxpayer flights and tennis tournaments are not the only things that the VA’s internal watchdog is looking toward. In fact, a separate investigation is being conducted due to complaints that Shulkin allegedly brought his security detail to Home Depot in order to help him carry furniture. President Trump has called attention to issues in Veteran Affairs before, calling the department “the most corrupt.”
While some have speculated that Trump would also be firing Housing Secretary Ben Carson for alleged impropriety concerning a $31,000 dining set, officials tell AP that President Trump is keen on keeping Carson on board, as well as retaining Chief of Staff John Kelly. However, the president did go on record saying that he was not planning on firing both John Dowd and H.R. McMaster, calling the reports “fake news” and ultimately ended up firing the two officials. Because of this, it’s hard to say if Carson and Kelly will stay in the president’s good graces for long.
If fired, Shulkin would be just the latest in the string of departures from the Trump administration this month, which includes FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, Chief Economic Adviser Gary Cohn, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and lead lawyer in the Russia probe John Dowd.