The White House can't get their story straight on Shulkin.
Trump was not only too cowardly to fire VA Secretary David Shulkin in person, he’s also too big a liar for his White House to keep up with.
As has become his habit, Trump fired Shulkin last week via Twitter, and no one in the administration disputed that fact. In fact, deputy press secretary Lindsey Walters acknowledged the firing, according to a press gaggle transcript that has since been deleted from the White House website.
But by Saturday, the incompetent Trump administration apparently realized that by firing Shulkin, Trump may have handcuffed his interim replacement. The White House began to claim that Shulkin had resigned, but on Sunday Shulkin said that was a lie.
On Monday morning’s “Fox & Friends,” White House spokesperson Mercedes Schlapp was asked to respond to Shulkin’s claim that he was fired, and Schlapp fumbled through a modified White House cover story.
“General Kelly called Secretary Shulkin and gave him the opportunity to resign,” Schlapp said. “Obviously the key here is that the president has made a decision. He wanted a change in the Department of Veterans Affairs.”
“So he didn’t resign?” asked co-host Abby Huntsman. “It was more of a decision made by the president. He knew a change needed to be made and he made that change?”
“General Kelly offered him the opportunity to resign,” Schlapp said. “At this point the president said it was time to move on in terms of veterans affairs.”
Another way of saying that is that Trump fired Shulkin, and he did so with the same cowardice and dishonesty he has displayed with several other firings. Both Rex Tillerson and Reince Priebus found out they were fired via Twitter, while then-FBI Director James Comey learned of his firing from news reports.
Trump’s White House has a history of changing stories on firings as well. Comey’s firing was first attributed to a recommendation by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, but then Trump said that he had fired Comey over the Russia investigation, regardless of Rosenstein’s recommendation.
Trump and his administration lied about the firing of disgraced National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, whom they kept on the job long after learning that he was compromised and that he had lied to the FBI.
And the White House tried to deny that Trump had fired then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson via a tweet, and even fired a State Department spokesperson for accurately verifying that.
Shulkin’s firing is just the latest demonstration of the Trump administration’s signature combination of brazen incompetence and dishonesty.