President Donald Trump — a man not known for his quietude — has left the head of Veterans Affairs, Larry Shulkin, in the dark as rumors swirl about Trump’s plan to fire him, the New York Times reported.
Over the weekend, Trump reportedly told friends he planned to fire Shulkin, who is the only holdover from President Barack Obama’s candidate, very soon. But no announcement seems to be forthcoming from the White House.
Shulkin has been facing down a mutiny from a portion of his staff in recent months over whether or not the VA should embrace private healthcare. The dispute has become so bitter that Shulkin has posted an armed guard outside his office door.
Shulkin was also seen for much of Trump’s first year in office as a stalwart bipartisan secretary. But in February, internal investigators at the VA accused Shulkin of mismanaging agency funds while on a trip in the British Isles and improperly accepting tickets to the Wimbledon tennis tournament. The Times reported that the White House was angry about how the report played in the media.
In recent weeks Shulkin has attempted to keep a low profile, speaking minimally to the press and being escorted out of meetings in Washington by a security detail.
Shulkin is seen as having broad support from veterans groups around the country.
“We are disappointed about all this speculation that is happening because we feel that the secretary has done a good job of leading the V.A. in a positive direction,” Garry Augustine, the executive director of Disabled American Veterans, told the Times.
This story "Trump Rumored To Want VA Chief Shulkin Out" was written by Ari Feldman.