The Latest: WH declines to show support for VA’s Shulkin

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on David Shulkin, who leads the Department of Veterans Affairs (all times local):

3:25 p.m.

The White House is declining to offer an endorsement of embattled Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, who is under fire for ethics violations.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says President Donald Trump “has a large number of individuals” working hard to help veterans served by the VA. She says the Trump administration is reviewing whether there is “anything we can do” to improve the system.

Sanders did not mention Shulkin but says those improvements could be made “through policy changes or personnel changes.”

Shulkin has said he has no intention of leaving his job even as the White House has floated names of possible replacements.


12:15 p.m.

Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin is making clear that he has no intention of leaving his job even as White House supports seems to be eroding.

He tells a House subcommittee: “I came here for one reason and that is to improve the lives of veterans.”

And he’s expressing regret for what he calls “distractions” that have shifted attention from his efforts to fix veterans’ health care.

Shulkin is under criticism for ethics violations related to a trip he took to Europe with his wife. And at the hearing he also addressed a government investigation underway into complaints he improperly used his security detail for personal errands.

Shulkin denies wrongdoing, and says he’s not using the taxpayer-paid armed guards any differently from other Cabinet members.


12:20 a.m.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry says he has no interest in leading the Department of Veterans Affairs.

That’s a job the White House is dropping hints might be open sooner rather than later.

White House support for embattled VA Secretary David Shulkin is eroding.

Two administration officials tell The Associated Press that Shulkin’s position is growing more precarious and that he could be out of a job within the week. But they say nothing has been finalized.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive personnel matter.

Shulkin is a former Obama administration official. He’s faced several investigations over his travel and leadership of the department. And the agency’s watchdog has detailed mismanagement and spending waste that’s weakened Shulkin’s standing.

—Associated Press writers Hope Yen and Zeke Miller.

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