March 15 (UPI) — Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said Thursday that he thought his department was getting back on track amid rumors that he will be fired.
Shulkin said he regretted the “distraction” of media reports earlier this week claiming U.S. President Donald Trump was considering firing the VA Secretary and move Energy Secretary Rick Perry to the job.
“I’ve publicly acknowledged that the distraction that has happened that you’ve talked about is something that I deeply regret,” Shulkin told a House Appropriations Committee subpanel. “I’ve come here for one reason, and that’s to improve the lives of veterans, and that’s what I’m focused solely on doing.”
Shulkin said on Thursday he was interested in getting his job done, adding he had “no tolerance” for anything other than VA business.
“There are a lot of people that frankly are more interested in politics than I am. I’m interested in getting this job done,” Shulkin said. “I believe that we are getting back on track with that, and I’m going to do everything I can to keep our focus on the work that we have to do because there’s a lot of work to do, as you mentioned, that impacts people’s lives.”
On his way to the hearing, Shulkin told reporters he had not spoken to Trumpand did not respond to questions about whether he felt secure in his job.
The VA secretary also addressed reports last week claiming Shulkin placed an armed guard outside his office door.
“Every Cabinet member has a security detail that is armed,” he said. “I am no different. I have done nothing different in my security protocol.”