VA Secretary David Shulkin's top press aides apparently actively lobbied for his ouster

Davis Shulkin.
(Image credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

A top aide to Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin recently lobbied to have Shulkin and his top deputy fired, USA Today and The Washington Post report, citing multiple people familiar with the effort. The campaign, by VA assistant secretary for public affairs John Ullyot and Press Secretary Curt Cashour, was "unsuccessful — but audacious," USA Today notes, because "Ullyot is the secretary's highest ranking aide tasked with publicly defending him and the agency." Shulkin said Monday he has Trump's support and alleged that some of his staff is trying to undermine him.

During a phone call on Feb. 15, a day after a VA inspector general report blasted Shulkin for improper use of public funds on a European trip, Ullyot and Cashour reportedly tried to convince a senior aide on the House Veterans Affairs Committee to have House Republicans call President Trump to demand Shulkin's ouster. "Ullyot expressed confidence on the call that President Trump would fire Shulkin by the following Tuesday," USA Today reports, citing two government sources, "but he told the aide it would be helpful if lawmakers on the committee called for his resignation ... and he said such pressure would make the firing a virtual certainty." House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) has made it clear he has confidence in Shulkin.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us
Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.