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.
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.
Trump confidante @ChrisRuddyNMX says he spoke with the president yesterday and that Trump is "perplexed" by reports there is "chaos at the White House," adding: "He's expecting to make one or two major changes to his government very soon." https://t.co/VJUUPsPY49 #ThisWeek pic.twitter.com/KWPqaBAsUK— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) March 25, 2018
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."
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.
Reminder if Shulkin is ousted...Hegseth will be brutal confirmation battle https://t.co/0KofBt0iAS— Burgess Everett (@burgessev) March 26, 2018
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."
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.