After a damning report on a Cabinet meeting called by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, in which he complained that high-ranking officials were getting caught screwing up too often, it looks like Donald Trump is taking it a step further with at least one of his secretaries.
Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin, many times the focus of ethics questions for his habit of using taxpayer money to fund his (and his wife’s) personal lifestyle — like literally almost everyone that Trump has appointed to his Cabinet — appears to be on the chopping block after an Oval Office meeting between the president and Shulkin himself.
The meeting was about overhauling the VA system, which Trump has grown increasingly impatient with, since it is a part of the Washington bureaucracy that he neither understands nor can control. But Trump always knows just the right person to call when he needs something done, and more often than not, it’s somebody connected to the same old GOP-Koch Bothers pipeline of money.
In this case, Trump literally dialed in — on the phone — Pete Hegseth, the host of Fox & Friends Weekend, to “get his opinion” on upcoming legislation regarding the VA system. Pete had floated his own name as a possibility to head up the VA before Shulkin was ever nominated, so calling him while meeting with Shulkin is essentially like interviewing someone else for your job while you’re in the room.
But Pete isn’t just a Fox host — he’s the former CEO of Concerned Veterans for America, a “grassroots” group just like all of the other Koch astroturf organizations. And like everything else the Kochs have their hands in, their involvement with the VA is an effort to privatize it — as in, make a profit from our veterans’ benefits program.
So while Trump is merely trying to taunt the VA Secretary by showing him that he could replace him at any time with a talking head that, according to Axios, he speaks to regularly and enjoys watching on Fox — what’s actually happening is yet another intrusion into the Trump administration by the libertarian Koch Brothers, who just want to monetize America.
Featured image via Olivier Douliery/Pool/Getty Images