Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Trump considers former Texas governor to take over VA

Trump considers former Texas governor to take over VA

Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin has reportedly left a bad impression on President Donald Trump.

Trump put host Pete Hegseth on speakerphone so he could tell Shulkin his take on new laws proposed in Congress that would expand access to private healthcare for veterans, two sources with knowledge of the conversation told Axios.

According to the inspector general report, officials in three programs under Shulkin's oversight knew of "serious, persistent deficiencies" during 2015-16. Shulkin was found in an inspector general's report to have violated ethics rules by using taxpayer money to subsidize his wife's $4,300 flight to Europe previous year and improperly accepting tickets to the Wimbledon tennis tournament in London. 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.

But perhaps Shulkin's most egregious move in the White House's eyes has been his attempts to color himself in the media as acting with the administration's blessing.

Meanwhile, Shulkin reportedly believes that Trump appointees within the department have been conspiring against him and embarked on a campaign to purge the VA of disloyal employees.

The secretary appeared to be regaining his footing. Trump said during a press conference early last week that he likes "conflict" and having "having two people with different points of view" go head-to-head in front of him, adding that it helps him make decisions. The secretary maintains the support of top Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill. The source was not authorized to discuss internal deliberations.

Mr. Perry is seen as a more pliant figure for the veterans affairs position.

Trump raised the idea with Perry on Monday, according to a number of news outlets that cited unidentified White House officials, but has not offered him the job so far. Unlike Dr. Shulkin, who had run the department's health care system under President Barack Obama and spent a career in hospital administration, Mr. Perry has no background in health care delivery, but as Texas' governor, he showed a willingness to experiment.

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