Mike Coffman encouraged by reports that Trump might fire embattled VA secretary

Mike Coffman encouraged by reports that Trump might fire embattled VA secretary

With the capital reeling from the abrupt firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, speculation swirled Tuesday night that President Donald Trump may continue the shakeup by firing his veterans secretary and moving Rick Perry to that troubled department.

Veteran's Affairs Secretary David Shulkin's tenure got off to a promising start, at least by Trump administration standards: a former hospital administrator and renowned academic, the Obama-era appointee was the only Cabinet nominee unanimously confirmed by the Senate.

Trump and Perry discussed the possible move during a lunch at the White House Monday. CNN reported that the White House held private meetings with Shulkin, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and HUD Secretary Ben Carson last month to discuss the "optics" of their uses of taxpayer money.

Trump did not make a formal offer to Perry when the two men met on Monday, the report said. Shortly after becoming President previous year, Trump had considered Perry for the veterans affairs secretary job.

He came into office with a pledge to bring greater accountability to the agency and to improve veterans' access to care, and not to privatize the department.

The current VA secretary, David Shulkin, is under fire for taking a taxpayer-funded trip to Europe past year.

David Shulkin, the veterans affairs secretary, has been investigated by his department's inspector general, which last month said he improperly accepted tickets to the Wimbledon tennis tournament last summer during a government trip to Europe.

Trump became irritated with Shulkin for publicly claiming that he has to fire people and purge his agency of Trump appointees, two people said.

The report in hand, Dr. Shulkin's critics in the White House and the department - including his two top communications deputies - worked behind the scenes to try to hasten his ouster.

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