Embattled VA secretary says he's moving on from 'unfortunate distraction'

Embattled Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said Wednesday that he has put disputes within his agency and with...

Posted: Mar 7, 2018 12:10 PM
Updated: Mar 7, 2018 12:10 PM

Embattled Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said Wednesday that he has put disputes within his agency and with Trump administration political appointees behind him.

"There is no doubt that we have been in an unfortunate distraction. Those days are over. We are all now focused on the work that has to be here that's important for us to do," Shulkin told reporters.

Speaking as his department's inspector general released a damning report about issues at the Washington DC VA medical center, Shulkin said that he and his leadership team were "fully committed to this work" and "only focused on improving care to veterans today."

Shulkin also maintained that he has the support of the White House and said that he spoke to President Donald Trump on Tuesday evening.

The White House has made clear, Shulkin said, "that I am the secretary and my job is to fix this system to veterans. And things that are not productive are not tolerated." He said that there is "too much to do to be distracted with the political infighting."

Shulkin, who had bipartisan support when he was named to lead the VA, has been locked in a turf war with Trump administration political appointees who he has said were working to subvert his authority and oust him.

The release last month of an inspector general report on a trip that Shulkin took to Europe last summer brought more scrutiny on Shulkin's job. The report found "serious derelictions" by Shulkin and senior staff related to the trip and concluded that Shulkin misused taxpayer funds and inappropriately accepted Wimbledon tickets, and that his then-chief of staff doctored an email to justify the department paying for his wife's airfare to accompany him.

Shulkin disputed both the conclusion of the report and its process and maintained he did nothing wrong, though he said he would comply with all of the inspector general's recommendations.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 15229

Reported Deaths: 723
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds99925
Lauderdale73561
Madison72023
Scott65012
Neshoba63038
Jones59825
Forrest55338
DeSoto5337
Rankin4217
Leake42112
Holmes39728
Copiah3104
Jackson30513
Attala29216
Yazoo2734
Newton2714
Leflore25831
Harrison2577
Lincoln25628
Monroe25525
Lamar2355
Oktibbeha23512
Lowndes2119
Pearl River20931
Pike20211
Adams19615
Noxubee1856
Wayne1771
Warren1719
Washington1687
Covington1652
Bolivar16011
Jasper1574
Smith15011
Lee1496
Kemper14411
Clarke14318
Chickasaw13312
Lafayette1314
Coahoma1214
Carroll11711
Marion1159
Clay1124
Winston1121
Claiborne1112
Lawrence1021
Simpson1010
Yalobusha905
Hancock9011
Tate891
Grenada893
Wilkinson889
Itawamba877
Union835
Marshall833
Montgomery831
Sunflower813
Jefferson Davis772
Tippah7311
Panola703
Webster691
Calhoun644
Humphreys607
Amite601
Walthall550
Tunica543
Prentiss523
Perry503
Choctaw432
Jefferson421
Tishomingo320
Pontotoc323
Stone300
Franklin282
Tallahatchie271
Quitman260
George251
Alcorn171
Benton150
Greene121
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 17359

Reported Deaths: 618
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2191115
Jefferson1780102
Montgomery163238
Tuscaloosa73814
Marshall6879
Franklin5457
Lee54033
Shelby50319
Tallapoosa42364
Butler40217
Chambers35325
Walker3442
Elmore3398
Madison3274
Baldwin2839
Dallas2603
Morgan2511
Etowah24811
DeKalb2433
Lowndes23812
Coffee2291
Sumter2206
Autauga2164
Houston2094
Bullock2034
Pike1980
Colbert1782
Russell1670
Marengo1636
Lauderdale1612
Hale1598
Calhoun1543
Choctaw1518
Barbour1501
Wilcox1447
Clarke1422
Cullman1260
Randolph1257
Marion12111
St. Clair1181
Pickens1114
Dale1100
Talladega1093
Chilton1001
Limestone940
Greene944
Winston880
Covington771
Jackson772
Crenshaw763
Macon754
Henry742
Bibb721
Washington686
Blount611
Escambia573
Lawrence480
Geneva400
Conecuh391
Coosa381
Monroe372
Perry370
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar230
Fayette150
Cleburne141
Unassigned00
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