Took long enough, but the scandal-plagued Veterans Administration will be under new management soon. Wednesday, Trump announced via Twitter, his plans to install a new VA Secretary.

The scoop:

According to several reports, Trump was furious over a trip Shulkin and his wife took to Europe, a trip that cost upwards of $120K and ultimately cost Shulkin his job.

Politico has the details:

Shulkin, 58, led the Veterans Health Administration for two years under Obama, and was confirmed as Trump‘s nominee to head the VA on a 99-0 Senate vote. Veterans groups and congressional leaders from both parties have praised his efforts to increase accountability, improve health care and overhaul the agency’s IT infrastructure.

But his tenure took a sour turn on Feb. 14 when the VA inspector-general reported that Shulkin and his wife had improperly accepted Wimbledon tickets and used staff to arrange site-seeing visits during a business trip to Denmark and England last summer.

Although Shulkin repaid the money in question, foes in the White House and the VA, loosely allied with the Koch brothers-funded Concerned Veterans of America, used the opportunity to press for his removal.

Shulkin responded in a series of interviews with POLITICO and other news outlets that there was “subversion” against him and his mission.

Some members of Congress and veterans groups agreed. But Trump, a regular viewer of Fox & Friends commentator Pete Hegseth — a critic of Shulkin who once vied for his job— reportedly was irked by Shulkin’s claims that he had full White House support.

From a policy perspective, the fight centered around two versions of a bill to give veterans greater access to private health care. A bill championed by Sen. Jerry Moran and supported by the Koch-backed group would allow veterans to choose care as they please outside of the VA system, which critics say amounts to privatizing the VA system while taxpayers foot the bill.

Shulkin, with the support of veterans groups like the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, supported a bipartisan bill that gave VA physicians the ultimate control over when veterans could go out of the system. Neither bill was included in the fiscal year 2018 omnibus budget, and by late March, senators were still negotiating over them.

Shulkin repeatedly said he would never oversee the privatization of the VA, the only large government-run health care system in the United States. Veterans groups and some Democrats on House and Senate veterans committees, viewed the attacks on Shulkin as an effort to remove barriers to privatization.


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