Keeping the promise of transparency, the Department of Veterans affairs published a list of all official travel Secretary David J. Shulkin has taken since Jan. 20. Included are the names of VA staff that accompany the Secretary as well.
According to the VA, the secretary has taken five domestic trips so far this year. Four trips were aboard Air Force 1 with the President. Those trips were to Harrisburg, PA on April 29; Youngstown, Ohio on July 25; Reno, Nevada on Aug. 23 and a trip on Sept. 2 to view damage caused by Hurricane Harvey in Houston and Lake Charles. On Aug. 31 Sec. Shulkin made a trip on Air Force 2 to Corpus Christi, Texas.
The VA says information on this page will be updated within five business days after the conclusion of official trips.
Itineraries are included with international travel information. So far, he’s only traveled out of the country twice. In July, Shulkin visited Copenhagen, Denmark and London. Last week, he made a one-day trip to Canada.
According to reports in the Washington Post, the VA secretary isn’t completely in the clear. His wife accompanied him on the 10-day, European trip. The government paid for her flight and per diem for meals because she was on “approved invitational orders.” The itinerary clearly shows the VA party had time for sightseeing and shopping as well. These side trips reportedly were reviewed and approved by the VA’s ethics counsel.
Cabinet members of the Trump administration have recently come under fire for the use of private and government jets. Secretary Shulkin traveled on a commercial flight and was seated in coach for at least part of the trip. Also included on the trip, was Poonam Alaigh, Acting Undersecretary of Health, and her husband who, according to the VA, paid his own way.
The VA states that the Secretary has not used any private aircraft for Government travel this year. The official domestic trips by the Secretary will be added to the list by October 15.