President Donald Trump is considering replacing his embattled veterans affairs chief with Energy Secretary and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, The New York Times reports.
Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin — a former undersecretary in the department appointed by former President Barack Obama — came under fire for a taxpayer-funded European work trip in July that doubled as something of a vacation, including sightseeing and shopping with his wife. Trump reportedly is frustrated with the secretary.
Shulkin and the White House are also awaiting a watchdog report that might reveal other ethical concerns.
“The audit is investigating a complaint by a security staff member who said he was asked to accompany the secretary to a Home Depot and carry furniture items into his home, according to two people familiar with the allegation who requested anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation,” The Associated Press reports.
Earlier Tuesday, Trump announced he was replacing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA director Mike Pompeo and Pompeo with current deputy director Gina Haspel.
During the 2016 campaign, Perry, an Air Force veteran, was seen as a possible veterans affairs secretary nominee. When promoting his stint on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” Perry rejected the idea he’d run for U.S. Senate and said he went on the reality dance competition program to prepare for his daughter’s wedding and to raise awareness of veterans issues.
“He’s always pushed himself to the limit and with this, he’s putting one more exclamation mark to his commitment to veterans,” Austin consultant Mark Miner, a longtime Perry political adviser, said in 2016. “To get up in front of millions of people and dance is a lot of people’s worst nightmares. It shows that he’s going the extra step, or two-step, to show that he’s committed to veterans.”