Trump considers Rick Perry for veterans affairs secretary

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Coffman, who has consistently hammered the VA over its over-budget and behind-schedule construction of the new VA hospital in Aurora, said Shulkin made Americans trust the department even less because of his actions and said it was time to "clean house" at the time. "Did I do the right job with Rick?" the president said to applause.

Trump and his senior aides are frustrated with Shulkin because they believe he has undermined the White House on several occasions and is unwilling to work with other members of his agency who were appointed by the Trump administration, a source familiar with the matter tells CNN.

He came under scrutiny last month for what an internal VA report called "serious derelictions" in a trip he took to Europe.

The report in hand, Dr. Shulkin's critics in the White House and the department - including his two top communications deputies - worked behind the scenes to try to hasten his ouster.

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Shulkin said he did nothing wrong and said the investigation had a "thread of bias", adding that the report was "a direct assault" on his wife, character, and his "unblemished record of service" to the VA, as Shulkin put it. He iced out those he viewed as a threat and essentially became his own one-person press office. Axios recently reported the President has been growing frustrated with him.

The secretary appeared to be regaining his footing.

Shulkin told the newspaper that Kelly and President TrumpDonald John TrumpAccuser says Trump should be afraid of the truth Woman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Shulkin says he has White House approval to root out "subversion" at VA MORE supported the secretary removing staffers who didn't back him.

Mr. Perry is seen as a more pliant figure for the veterans affairs position. Perry's immediate predecessor under the Obama administration was a nuclear physicist.