Let’s give that revolving door another spin!
Reports coming out on Sunday are that Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin will be the next Trump Cabinet member bounced out the door.
Two officials said an announcement on Shulkin could happen this week, subject to Trump’s final decision as the White House hones in on possible replacements to head the Department of Veterans Affairs. One of the officials rated Shulkin’s chances of being pushed out in the next day or two at “50-50.” The three officials demanded anonymity to discuss a sensitive personnel matter.
Trump, who spent the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago estate, told associates that he would keep two other administration officials who had been under fire: White House chief of staff John F. Kelly and Housing Secretary Ben Carson.
“He did say that he’s expecting to make one or two major changes,” said Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy, a Trump confidant who spoke with the president over the weekend, on ABC’s “This Week.”
“Now, other White House sources, not the president, tell me that Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin is likely to depart the Cabinet very soon,” Ruddy said.
So, let’s just be clear, when somebody says, “50-50 chance,” they can’t really be proven wrong, can they?
So let’s just take this one with a small grain of salt.
I mean, it’s not like there aren’t reasons to get rid of Shulkin. The guy is apparently confused about his role as a public servant. With the VA in shambles and in need of somebody to actually care about tightening up that ship and seeing that our veterans are taken care of, Shulkin was enjoying the “perks.”
In February, an internal watchdog group found that Shulkin had taken some Wimbledon tickets, improperly. There were doctored emails from his staff to allow his wife to travel with him to Europe on our dime – and then it turned into a sight-seeing trip, rather than the diplomatic mission it was intended to be.
A separate VA watchdog investigation, due out in the coming weeks, is also looking into a complaint that Shulkin asked his security detail to accompany him to a Home Depot store and cart furniture items, according to two people familiar with the allegation who requested anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.
President Trump made repeated claims to fix the VA while on the campaign trail, but in the mega-spending bill he just signed, there was no provision to expand the Veteran’s Choice program, that would have allowed vets access to private doctors.
The vets get snookered, again.
Shulkin has made a point of answering charges against him by going to the press and claiming there were political appointees within the unit working against him. He denies wrongdoing and hangs his failures on the internal drama.
Speaking of drama, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is reportedly getting tired of Shulkin’s nonsense, and wants him to stop claiming a White House mandate that he doesn’t have.
With that in mind, Shulkin’s departure may be imminent.
When the notion of a Shulkin ouster was first raised, the rumor was that former Texas governor and current Energy Secretary Rick Perry was being considered to take over for Shulkin (where he should have been from the beginning, actually), but Perry has said that he wasn’t interested.
So who could be in line to fill that spot?
A recent rumor has Trump fishing from the Fox News pool and possibly putting Pete Hegseth in the role, but that’s not a certainty, either.
Among the candidates being vetted include Hegseth, a former military officer and former CEO of the conservative Concerned Veterans for America; former Rep. Jeff Miller, who had been chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee; retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg; Michael Kussman, a former VA undersecretary of health; Toby Cosgrove, a former president and CEO of the Cleveland Clinic; and Leo Mackay Jr., a former VA deputy secretary who is now senior vice president at Lockheed Martin Corp.
Should Shulkin find himself unemployed this week, deputy VA secretary Tom Bowman would step in as acting VA secretary.