Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin speaks about FY19 budget to the House Veterans Affairs Committee, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
David Shulkin has been having a rough go of things as Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and Insider sources tell us its about to get worse.
Shulkin has been under fire on two fronts. For one thing, he hasn’t come through on promises made by the White House and pretty much every other person in government, including himself, to fix the big problems that have plagued the VA and been the source of a lot of negative news the last few years.
Long wait times, vets dying while waiting for care, etc. Although steps have been taken, the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C. still has many problems, and Insider hears a report is coming out soon, maybe in a matter of days, detailing big problems there and laying them at Shulkin’s feet.
More immediate and specifically damaging are the allegations of improper use of government resources by Secretary Shulkin. A VA inspector general’s investigation recently concluded that Shulkin improperly used government resources for, among other things, airfare to Wimbledon. The next report, Insider hears, will focus on his security detail.
By the way, the tickets to the Wimbeldon event were gifts he improperly accepted, according to the same investigation.
Shulkin has been weathering the storm for a couple of weeks now, and has said he “learned a lot” from the report. Today at Monday’s press briefing, Secretary Sanders addressed the issue.
“Secretary Shulkin has repaid, I know, several thousand dollars toward some of the travel costs of the trip that was in question, and we’re continuing to focus on a lot of the great work that’s taking place at the VA while that’s still under review,” she said.
The key here is that line about “still under review.” Insider’s sources say another report is coming out this week.
Tellingly, Sanders also had two service members in attendance to “continue to put extra encouragement on the VA secretary to make sure we’re doing everything we can for veterans.” That is a clear implication the Secretary isn’t doing all he can.
Not to mention her refusal to answer whether Shulkin has been measuring up to the President’s standards on this issue.
Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado, a Republican on the House Veteran’s Affairs Committee, called for Trump to fire Shulkin last Wednesday.
Mr. President, you promised the American people that you would end the culture of corruption and bureaucratic incompetence that for far too long has defined the leadership of the VA. Unfortunately, Secretary Shulkin, by his conduct, lacks the moral authority to achieve your goals of a transparent, accountable VA that is dedicated to meeting our nation’s obligations to the men and women who wore the uniform and made tremendous sacrifices in defense of our freedoms.
That’s a lot of pressure in a short amount of time. With the possibility of two more damaging reports coming out this week, it’s not hard to see it could be Shulkin’s last in the post.