WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Donald Trump has grown irritated with his embattled Veterans Affairs secretary, David Shulkin, and is now making plans to remove him from his post, two sources familiar with the move tell CNN.
Trump has eyed Energy Secretary Rick Perry as a possible replacement, a person familiar with the matter said.READ MORE: SEPTA Workers Voted To Authorize Strike If New Contract Isn't Reached
Trump and Perry discussed the possible move during a lunch at the White House Monday.
Shulkin’s standing in the administration has been shaky for weeks now as his agency devolves into turmoil, and though White House press secretary Sarah Sanders maintained just last week that he has done “a great job,” Trump now wants him out.
A Shulkin adviser referred questions about this report to the White House. The White House declined to comment.READ MORE: Philadelphia Police Searching For 13-Year-Old Leienna Cuevas Last Seen At Home In Rhawnhurst
An Energy Department spokeswoman, asked about reports Perry is being considered to replace Shulkin, said: “I have no comment at this time.”
Trump and his senior aides are frustrated with Shulkin because they believe he has undermined the White House on several occasions and is unwilling to work with other members of his agency who were appointed by the Trump administration, a source familiar with the matter tells CNN. His status as the sole Obama holdover in Trump’s administration initially did not raise any issues, people familiar with the situation said. But the events of recent weeks made clear to Trump and his associates the importance of naming their own person to the job.
Shulkin met with Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, at the White House March 5 to discuss the agency’s turmoil. After their meeting, Shulkin told The New York Times that he had the full confidence of the White House to fire staffers he felt were disloyal to him. But officials in the West Wing say that wasn’t an accurate way to describe his meeting with Kelly and that afterwards, Kelly felt Shulkin had taken advantage of their conversation. He was frustrated that Shulkin went straight to the press to discuss what was said in their meeting.
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