Trump Will Let Scandal-Plagued VA Secretary Shulkin Keep Job, ‘For Now’
Veterans Affairs secretary David Shulkin, who was accused by an internal report of mishandling taxpayer money, will likely keep his job, The Washington Post reported Tuesday, citing White House officials.
Staffers said Trump could “stomach the story” from the inspector general that claims violations in Shulkin’s office. According to the inspector general, Shulkin’s former chief of staff, Viveca Wright Simpson, altered an email to allow the government to pay for Shulkin’s wife to join him on a trip to Europe. Simpson announced her intent to retire last week.
The Post’s source claims that Shulkin’s job could be on the line in the future. “If other stuff comes out, this could change, but for now, he’s safe,” the source said.
The trip in question included a veterans’ mental health conference, but also contained sightseeing and complimentary tickets to the Wimbledon tennis tournament. Shulkin says everything was above board and promised to pay back the cost of his wife’s airfare.
According to Shulkin, the email was doctored as part of a plan by other administration officials to force him out of office. In an apparent response to this allegation, the VA’s inspector general opened a separate investigation to determine if the former chief of staff’s email account was accessed by unauthorized people.
Trump has voiced strong support for Shulkin in the past, referring to him as “Our David” and telling him that he would never have to use his signature phrase, “You’re fired,” on him.