VA Secretary has Harsh Words for Critics
Following a recent high-profile, highly-charged scandal in which he is accused of improperly using taxpayer funds for non-official travel, Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin had surprisingly terse words for his critics this week.
“I have very little tolerance for people who aren’t willing to focus on moving forward and that’s exactly what we’re going to do,” Shulkin said. “I’ve made it clear that there’s only one agenda in the department and that is to get back on track and anybody who doesn’t want to do that shouldn’t be in the VA.”
Shulkin further indicated he has no plans to resign, according to Government Executive.
It was unclear what specific actions, if any, might come of Shulkin’s warnings, with Shulkin noting that he had no interest in wasting time “looking for subversion or doing investigations” but that he would address “people who are pursuing different agendas” within the agency.
“I’ve been a chief executive for a long time,” Shulkin continued. “I don’t know how to run an organization, nor do I know any effective executive who knows how to run an organization, if there are people who are pursuing their own agenda.”
“I am not arguing that people shouldn’t have diversity of opinions,” Shulkin further clarified, before noting he would simply “not accept people who are going around the process to try to hurt the momentum and progress that we are having at the VA and working against the president’s agenda.”
Shulkin has stated that he has willingly complied with his agency’s investigation into his travel, including reimbursing the government for the cost of his and his wife’s tickets to the Wimbledon tennis tournament, stating that his political adversaries were using the story to undermine his efforts within the agency.
“That is what I said I will not tolerate, that we are moving forward,” Shulkin explained. “There’s not going to be multiple agendas. And if they don’t understand that, they don’t belong in the VA.”
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