Retaliating against comments that the ousted former head of Veterans Affairs didn’t resign, the White House on Sunday circulated a memo among veterans groups disputing David Shulkin’s claims, the Associated Press reported.
The White House maintains that Shulkin left his job willingly. The three-page memo obtained by the Associated Press, points out seven “lies” that Shulkin has shared, including his response to the ethics investigation into his use of taxpayer dollars to travel with his wife to Italy and his acceptance of free Wimbledon tennis tickets, according to the AP.
Shulkin made the rounds on cable news Sunday claiming he did not resign from the administration, a revelation that could hinder President Donald Trump’s ability to pick an acting head, which he announced on Twitter last week. A president is allowed to appoint an acting head to temporarily fill a federal agency job if a person dies, resigns or is unable to perform the job, but it’s unclear what the President is allowed to do in the case of a firing. Trump announced on Twitter last that his physician Ronny Jackson would become the new secretary of Veterans Affairs and Defense Department official Robert Wilkie would serve temporarily.
A Veterans Affairs watchdog determined last month that Shulkin violated ethics rules with his European trip. The White House reportedly was also frustrated with Shulkin after he spoke with the media infighting within the department and his suspicions of political appointees within his department attempting to oust him.
In a New York Times op-ed the day after he was ousted from the White House, Shulkin said he felt he was let go because of his opposition to privatizing veterans’ heal care.