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VA's Shulkin Now In Trouble Over Shopping Binges

VA's Shulkin Now In Trouble Over Shopping Binges

President Donald Trump has grown irritated with his embattled Veterans Affairs secretary, David Shulkin, and is now making plans to remove him from his post, two sources familiar with the move tell CNN.

Major Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) have also expressed their support, but those Shulkin has accused of undermining him remain in place at the VA and the White House, and reform of the Choice program was still bogged down in Congress.

The recent murmurs of Rick Perry, in particular, possibly being Shulkin's replacement come just a day after the President hosted Perry at the White House for lunch, though no formal job offer was made at that time, according to unnamed sources.

Trump became irritated with Shulkin for publicly claiming that he has to fire people and purge his agency of Trump appointees, two people said. He has advocated leaving the decision to VA doctors, in part because private care, with expensive co-pays, would cost taxpayers much more than the current system. However, Shulkin does have an upcoming VA watchdog report scheduled for release this summer that will further outline any mishandling of government funds or inappropriate use of his security detail.

They were also found to have improperly accepted tickets to the Wimbledon tennis tournament in England.

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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. A majority of key lawmakers on Capitol Hill have rallied to his side.

Senior administration officials describe a growing frustration that Shulkin repeatedly ignores their advice, only to beg for their help when he runs into ethical trouble.

But as of Tuesday, none of the appointees had been fired.

Shulkin's standing in the administration has been shaky for weeks now as his agency devolves into turmoil, and though White House press secretary Sarah Sanders maintained just last week that he has done "a great job", Trump now wants him out.

Trump met with Shulkin in the Oval Office last week and asked him about his efforts to expand the existing Choice program. Hegseth, a former president of the conservative group Concerned Veterans for America, declined to comment for this article.