Trump called 'Fox & Friends' host for opinion on vets healthcare during meeting with VA chief: report
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 called in a “Fox & Friends” co-host to weigh in on legislation about veterans’ health care during a meeting with Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary David ShulkinDavid Jonathon ShulkinShulkin says he has White House approval to root out ‘subversion’ at VA Overnight Energy: Dems ask Pruitt to justify first-class travel | Obama EPA chief says reg rollback won’t stand | Ex-adviser expects Trump to eventually rejoin Paris accord Overnight Defense: First Gitmo transfer under Trump could happen ‘soon’ | White House says Trump has confidence in VA chief | Russia concedes ‘dozens’ of civilians injured in Syria clash MORE, Axios reported Sunday.
Shulkin and Trump were discussing legislation to reform veterans’ health care during an Oval Office meeting last week when Trump called “Fox & Friends” co-host Pete Hegseth to get his opinion.
Hegseth, a veteran and former executive director of advocacy group Vets For Freedom, was among those considered to be VA secretary under Trump. Trump is a frequent viewer of Fox News, including the morning show.
Sources told Axios that the phone call put Shulkin in an uncomfortable spot, as Hegseth is pushing for more intense reforms and interviewed for Shulkin’s job.
The Trump administration has listed veterans’ health care as a top priority.
Trump allies have backed offering veterans more alternatives for health care outside of the agency. However, Shulkin is in favor of a more moderate approach that would only outsource treatment in cases where waiting times are too long or veterans live too far away from agency options.
The incident took place amid tensions between Shulkin and the White House. Shulkin has said that Trump political appointees in the agency are attempting to undermine him, and claims he has White House approval to remove them.
He is also under scrutiny after an inspector general report found that he misused taxpayer dollars during a trip to Europe with his wife last year.
Shulkin has denied wrongdoing, but has reimbursed the government for the trip.