The White House / Flickr david shulkin...
The White House / Flickr

Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin is about to take his turn in the spotlight after revelations he and his staff, along with some of their spouses, enjoyed a 10-day European vacation, entirely funded by us hardworking taxpayers. 

From the Washington Post:

The 10-day trip was not entirely a vacation. Shulkin was in Europe for meetings with Danish and British officials about veterans’ health issues.

Yet he and his wife spent about half their time sightseeing, including shopping and touring historic sites, according to an itinerary obtained by The Washington Post and confirmed by a U.S. official familiar with their activities.

Wimbledon, a Thames river cruise, Westminster Abbey, London shopping—sounds lovely, darling! Nothing but the best! No, we don’t have enough money for the health care of our veterans, but as Robin Leach would say, these guys are living it up with “champagne wishes and caviar dreams!”

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It was quite the travel party.

Shulkin, who most people couldn’t pick out of a line up, required a number of handlers and family members travel with him:

Shulkin’s six-person traveling party included his acting undersecretary of health and her husband, his chief of staff and another aide, the itinerary says. They were accompanied by a security detail of as many as six people.

Why in the world would they need six full-time security staffers? Can you imagine the final bill they racked up for 12 people in Europe for 10 days? As WaPo notes, Shulkin’s predecessor never took a foreign trip.

And then there is this final golden nugget:

Shulkin’s trip came less than two weeks after he signed a memo instructing top VA staffers to determine whether “employee travel in their organization is essential.”

“I expect this will result in decreased employee travel and generate savings within the Department of Veterans Affairs,” Shulkin wrote.

Like taxes for people like Donald Trump, rules and ethics and tightening the belt are only for the little people. The extravagant spending of Trump administration officials is so over-the-top, it might be time for Robin Leach to launch a new season of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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