Trump planning to fire VA Secretary David Shulkin: reports 

David Shulkin
VA Secretary David Shulkin has been under fire over the past several weeks, and now President Donald Trump is reportedly planning Shulkin's ouster. (Whitehouse.gov)

President Donald Trump is reportedly planning to fire Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, M.D. 

Sources told the Associated Press that Trump could decide whether or not to fire Shulkin this week, with one White House official say that there is a "50-50" chance he's fired within the next couple of days. 

Shulkin has been under fire after a report from the VA's Office of the Inspector General revealed how he spent taxpayer money during a trip to Europe. The VA paid for his wife to join him on the trip, and he also accepted tickets to Wimbledon. The 11-day trip overall cost the agency more than $122,000. 

Free Daily Newsletter

Like this story? Subscribe to FierceHealthcare!

The healthcare sector remains in flux as policy, regulation, technology and trends shape the market. FierceHealthcare subscribers rely on our suite of newsletters as their must-read source for the latest news, analysis and data impacting their world. Sign up today to get healthcare news and updates delivered to your inbox and read on the go.

Christopher Ruddy, the president's friend and CEO of Newsmax, told ABC News on Sunday that Trump told him that "one or two major changes to his government" should be expected soon. Ruddy said that sources within the White House, aside from the president, have told him that Shulkin's firing is imminent. 

Ike Perlmutter, another friend of Trump's and the chairman of Marvel Entertainment, has also suggested potential replacements for Shulkin, Axios reported. Perlmutter originally recommended Shulkin to Trump as VA secretary, but a source told the outlet that he now "feels betrayed by Shulkin and regrets ever putting his name in front of the president." 

RELATED: VA announces 'aggressive' plan to improve care quality at low-performing hospitals 

Trump and key White House figures such as Chief of Staff John Kelly have been seeking names of potential replacements for Shulkin, as they're unhappy with how he has handled internal conflict at the VA, according to Axios. 

Nearly a dozen candidates have been interviewed so far, including Pete Hegseth, a commentator on "Fox & Friends" and a former military officer, and Toby Cosgrove, M.D., the former CEO of Cleveland Clinic, according to the AP. It was also previously reported that Trump discussed the job with Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry

Despite these reports, Hogan Gidley, the White House deputy press secretary, told Fox News that Trump "has confidence" in Shulkin " at the present time," Politico reported.

"He is a secretary and has done some great things at the VA," Gidley said. "As you know, the president wants to put the right people in the right place at the right time and that could change." 

RELATED: VA secretary issues blunt assessment of care for veterans 

Veterans groups have stood behind Shulkin during the controversy, as he has spearheaded several initiatives at the agency to modernize veterans' healthcare and improve quality at VA hospitals. 

Shulkin was confirmed to the VA secretary post unanimously in February 2017, but legislators have been mixed on if he should stay in the position. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., has called for him to be fired, while Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., has urged Trump to keep Shulkin at the VA.