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Trump considering Perry for veterans affairs secretary

14 March 2018

If Mr. Trump were to make the move, possible replacements for Mr. Perry could include Ray Washburne, a Dallas entrepreneur and prominent Republican fund-raiser; J. Larry Nichols, the former chairman of Devon Energy; and T. Boone Pickens, the Texas oilman, according to people who work closely with senior officials at the department and the White House. Axios recently reported the President has been growing frustrated with him.

However, Kelly was reportedly blindsided when Shulkin later spoke with The New York Times about the issues within the VA. The chief of staff was reportedly infuriated by that quote and saw it as an attempt to take advantage of the meeting. Dr. Shulkin, who disputed the report's findings, went public with fears that appointees were "trying to undermine the department from within". Trump called him the "100-to-nothing man" - a reference to his unanimous Senate confirmation vote - and publicly teased that he probably would never be fired because he had successfully shepherded legislation to improve accountability at the VA and speed disability appeals.

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Last month, Missal issued a scathing report charging that Shulkin wrongly charged the $4,132 airfare for his wife on a trip to Denmark and London last July, and also accepted free tickets to the Wimbledon tennis tournament.

By December, relations at the VA between Shulkin and several political appointees began to fray over philosophical differences.

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Shulkin met with Trump's chief of staff, John Kelly, at the White House March 5 to discuss the agency's turmoil.

At a January 17 hearing, Sen. "Did I do the right job with Rick?" the president said to applause. A grim Shulkin denied the accusation, but the White House was later forced to clarify its position on the bill due to lawmaker confusion.

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According to the inspector general report, officials in three programs under Shulkin's oversight knew of "serious, persistent deficiencies" during 2015-16. His chief of staff resigned after the report said she doctored an email to justify allowing Shulkin's wife to travel to Europe at taxpayer's expense. That aide also requested anonymity in order to discuss a sensitive internal matter. At a Cabinet meeting last Thursday, Shulkin took a different seat reserved for him - next to the president.

Trump considering Perry for veterans affairs secretary