Trump's Veterans Affairs secretary is an ethically challenged Obama holdover

Boy, President Trump must really like Obama-era holdovers!  He put one in charge of conducting phony immigration raids at ICE and picked another one to run Veterans Affairs.  I guess he figured that Obama appointees would be best suited to drain the swamp!

But his veterans secretary, David Shulkin, has gotten into a bit of trouble, apparently lying and forging documentation.

A scathing report released Wednesday found "serious derelictions" in a 10-day, $122,000 business trip the secretary of veterans affairs took to Europe, which included airfare for his wife and extensive sightseeing.

According to the report, Secretary David J. Shulkin traveled to Denmark and London for meetings about health care for veterans, accompanied by his wife, a small staff and a six-person security detail, but nearly half of his time was spent visiting castles and other tourist sites.

"This was time that should have been spent conducting official V.A. business and not providing personal travel concierge services to Secretary Shulkin and his wife," Inspector General Michael J. Missal concluded in the report.

To justify paying for the secretary's wife's $4,000 airfare, the report said, the department's chief of staff altered an email to indicate that Dr. Shulkin and his wife had been specifically invited to an honorary dinner in Denmark, when in fact they had not.

Is this how "draining the swamp" is supposed to work?

Meanwhile, many veterans still cannot get prompt medical care at V.A. facilities.  GOP senators were pushing a bill to give veterans the options to go to private doctors, but Shulkin was apparently resisting the program, called "Choice."

It would allow veterans who have to wait more than 30 days for a doctor's appointment or live more than 40 miles from a VA facility to get private-sector care.  The VA has bought some private medical care for decades.  But Choice represented a significant expansion, and Democrats were wary that it would open the door to privatizing VA health care on a much broader scale.

... the Choice program was out of money again and needed an extension as part of the end-of-year spending deal.  Tester vowed to make it the last one he would agree to.  He called on Shulkin to break the stalemate by publicly endorsing his and Isakson's bill.  "I would love to have the VA come out forcefully for this bill," he said on the Senate floor in late December.  "I think it would help get it passed."

In a private meeting, Isakson and Tester chided Shulkin for withholding support for their bill, according to three people briefed on the meeting[.]

So we have an Obama holdover who is ethically challenged and withholding support for veterans to get prompt medical care in the private sector.

President Trump has made some great appointments.  Jeff Sessions is the best attorney general since Michael Mukasey.  Nikki Haley is the best U.N. Ambassador since Jeanne Kirkpatrick.  So far, Neil Gorsuch has proven to be an excellent Supreme Court justice.  And Rex Tillerson's reign of terror at the State Department is heartening.

But Trump has made some terrible appointments, like Shulkin and Thomas Homan at ICE.  As Obama holdovers, these people should never have been picked.  It makes you wonder what was going through Trump's mind to pick people Barack Obama thought were good.

Ed Straker is the senior writer at Newsmachete.com.

Image: Dan4th Nicholas, Flickr.

Boy, President Trump must really like Obama-era holdovers!  He put one in charge of conducting phony immigration raids at ICE and picked another one to run Veterans Affairs.  I guess he figured that Obama appointees would be best suited to drain the swamp!

But his veterans secretary, David Shulkin, has gotten into a bit of trouble, apparently lying and forging documentation.

A scathing report released Wednesday found "serious derelictions" in a 10-day, $122,000 business trip the secretary of veterans affairs took to Europe, which included airfare for his wife and extensive sightseeing.

According to the report, Secretary David J. Shulkin traveled to Denmark and London for meetings about health care for veterans, accompanied by his wife, a small staff and a six-person security detail, but nearly half of his time was spent visiting castles and other tourist sites.

"This was time that should have been spent conducting official V.A. business and not providing personal travel concierge services to Secretary Shulkin and his wife," Inspector General Michael J. Missal concluded in the report.

To justify paying for the secretary's wife's $4,000 airfare, the report said, the department's chief of staff altered an email to indicate that Dr. Shulkin and his wife had been specifically invited to an honorary dinner in Denmark, when in fact they had not.

Is this how "draining the swamp" is supposed to work?

Meanwhile, many veterans still cannot get prompt medical care at V.A. facilities.  GOP senators were pushing a bill to give veterans the options to go to private doctors, but Shulkin was apparently resisting the program, called "Choice."

It would allow veterans who have to wait more than 30 days for a doctor's appointment or live more than 40 miles from a VA facility to get private-sector care.  The VA has bought some private medical care for decades.  But Choice represented a significant expansion, and Democrats were wary that it would open the door to privatizing VA health care on a much broader scale.

... the Choice program was out of money again and needed an extension as part of the end-of-year spending deal.  Tester vowed to make it the last one he would agree to.  He called on Shulkin to break the stalemate by publicly endorsing his and Isakson's bill.  "I would love to have the VA come out forcefully for this bill," he said on the Senate floor in late December.  "I think it would help get it passed."

In a private meeting, Isakson and Tester chided Shulkin for withholding support for their bill, according to three people briefed on the meeting[.]

So we have an Obama holdover who is ethically challenged and withholding support for veterans to get prompt medical care in the private sector.

President Trump has made some great appointments.  Jeff Sessions is the best attorney general since Michael Mukasey.  Nikki Haley is the best U.N. Ambassador since Jeanne Kirkpatrick.  So far, Neil Gorsuch has proven to be an excellent Supreme Court justice.  And Rex Tillerson's reign of terror at the State Department is heartening.

But Trump has made some terrible appointments, like Shulkin and Thomas Homan at ICE.  As Obama holdovers, these people should never have been picked.  It makes you wonder what was going through Trump's mind to pick people Barack Obama thought were good.

Ed Straker is the senior writer at Newsmachete.com.

Image: Dan4th Nicholas, Flickr.