Trump met with Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Monday, and multiple outlets are reporting the president is considering Perry to replace Shulkin. Shulkin pulled a similar move last week, meeting with Kelly and subsequently calling up The New York Times to declare victory. At a signing ceremony for one of those bills in June, Mr. Trump said his secretary did not have to worry about hearing the president's old reality-show catchphrase, "You're fired".
Shulkin has butted heads with Trump appointees at the V.A. from the outset, but the conflict came to a head after an inspector general's report found "serious derelictions" in the way Shulkin's office had handled a trip to Europe, among them allegedly doctoring e-mails to allow the V.A. head to justify bringing his wife along.
Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin is fighting against an uprising within the department as well as official reports he misused taxpayer funds and committed other ethics violations.
In the midst of the controversies, Shulkin has complained that he is the victim of "subversion" from within the VA and at the White House organized by Trump administration political appointees who see him as an obstacle to expansion of the choice program allowing veterans to opt for private health care.
The White House didn't comment on the rumors.
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.
Kelly did tell Shulkin that he would help him with the issues he was having with staffers at the VA, according to Axios.
But top White House officials have only become more irked with the secretary's penchant for publicly discussing internal politics, and Mr. Trump has begun searching for a replacement.