Trump and his senior aides are frustrated with Shulkin because they believe he has undermined the White House on several occasions and is unwilling to work with other members of his agency who were appointed by the Trump administration, a source familiar with the matter tells CNN. Now Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been fired and CIA Director Mike Pompeo is moving to that position.
"We'll never have to use those words on our David", Mr. Trump said, pointing his finger at the secretary like a pistol.
The dispute spilled into public over the last month, following a scathing report by department's inspector general on a business trip that Dr. Shulkin took to Britain and Denmark past year.
Secretary of Energy Rick Perry could be in line for the top spot in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Russian Federation concedes "dozens" of civilians injured in Syria clash MORE to the White House last week and told him to stop creating drama in his agency, Axios reported Sunday.
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Shulkin has been struggling with political appointees at his department, some of whom allegedly oppose his policies and are seeking his ouster.
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. He iced out those he viewed as a threat and essentially became his own one-person press office. Per Axios's Jonathan Swan, back in February, Shulkin met with Chief of Staff John Kelly, who agreed to lend him a hand with staffing woes-not to authorize a so-called purge.
The secretary appeared to be regaining his footing. The source was not authorized to discuss internal deliberations. Unlike Dr. Shulkin, who had run the department's health care system under President Barack Obama and spent a career in hospital administration, Mr. Perry has no background in health care delivery, but as Texas' governor, he showed a willingness to experiment.
Trump raised the idea with Perry on Monday, according to a number of news outlets that cited unidentified White House officials, but has not offered him the job so far.