VA Secretary Shulkin says he has White House approval to fire subversive staffers

Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, MD, said he received approval from the White House to weed out conservative opponents of his leadership within the department, according to Politico.

Dr. Shulkin said he has been investigating "subversion" in the VA and Peter O'Rourke, his new chief of staff, is meeting with suspected staffers "individually and as a group to determine, now that there is a clear direction where we are going, where people are going to stand."

After a meeting Tuesday with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Dr. Shulkin was given the green light to reorganize his staff.

"Those who crossed the line in the past are going to have to be accountable for those decisions," Dr. Shulkin told Politico.

Curt Cashour, Dr. Shulkin's spokesman, is among the staffers who have openly defied orders in recent days by deleting posts written by Dr. Shulkin from the VA's website. Dr. Shulkin attributes the internal power struggle to dissatisfaction with his bipartisan approach to legislation.

While firing political appointees is not easy, he said, "I don't think everybody's going to remain at the VA."

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