There's more bad news at VA

TheWhiteHouse  Flickr

Shulkin's office did not immediately respond to the shopping charge, but the AP and other news outlets reported that the White House was feeling out Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the former Republican governor of Texas, to take over from Shulkin at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Shulkin has been struggling with political appointees at his department, some of whom allegedly oppose his policies and are seeking his ouster. A series of ill-conceived media contacts, however, may have damaged his relationship with the White House beyond fix, potentially leading to yet another high-profile ouster.

Shulkin told the newspaper that Kelly and President TrumpDonald John TrumpAccuser says Trump should be afraid of the truth Woman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Shulkin says he has White House approval to root out "subversion" at VA MORE supported the secretary removing staffers who didn't back him.

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Amid the atmosphere of suspicion, Shulkin has canceled morning meetings with senior Trump-appointed staffers, choosing instead to convene with aides whom he "trusts not to miscast his remarks", the Post reported on Friday. According to a VA Inspector General report, Shulkin used VA money to fly his wife to Europe with him and spent most of that trip sightseeing. An armed guard reportedly stands outside his office, in part due to the upheaval and in part as a response to threats Shulkin received after the I.G. report was made public.

Kelly did tell Shulkin that he would help him with the issues he was having with staffers at the VA, according to Axios.

Kelly, who found out about The Times's article after he was contacted by reporters, reportedly called Shulkin following the interview and believed the secretary exploited the White House meeting, Axios reported. Shulkin drew ire from the White House for talking directly to media rather than going through his communications team, which he claims is one group that's out to get him. "He wants Shulkin to just shut up and stop causing drama".

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