WH Dodges Questions On VA Secretary: No Announcements ‘At This Time’

on February 22, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America

White House spokesman Raj Shah (pictured above) on Monday dodged questions on whether Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin would join the growing list of Cabinet members and senior advisers to lose their jobs.

Several outlets have reported in recent days, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, that Shulkin could soon be on his way out. He would join Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, National Economic Council director Gary Cohn and other senior administration officials whose firings or resignations made news recently.

Christopher Ruddy, the Newsmax Media CEO and Trump confidante, told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, after speaking to Trump the previous day, that Shulkin was “likely to depart the Cabinet very soon,” 

Shah sped by questions about Shulkin Monday.

“I have no personnel announcements to make at this time,” he told one inquiring reporter, repeating the phrase in response to another question later.

Later, another reporter asked about Shulkin and Trump’s relationship.

“I haven’t asked the President about it directly today, so I don’t want to comment on it too specifically,” Shah said.

That’s a retreat from deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley’s message on Fox News Monday morning.

“At this point in time though, he does have confidence in Dr. Shulkin,” Gidley said. “He is a secretary and he has done some great things at the VA. As you know, the President wants to put the right people in the right place at the right time and that could change.”

Unlike the rest of Trump’s Cabinet, Shulkin’s nomination was unanimously supported in a 100-0 Senate vote. He’s also the only Obama administration holdover — Shulkin served as the VA’s under secretary for health from 2015 to 2017 — to serve in the current Cabinet.

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