A new report shows that Donald Trump’s Secretary of Veterans Affairs used taxpayer dollars to fly his wife to Europe last summer to see the Wimbledon tennis tournament.
Not only did Secretary David Shulkin use public dollars for airfare to Europe, but he “improperly accepted” the tickets to the tournament, according to the report.
More from the USA Today:
Department of Veterans Affairs investigators are poised to claim Secretary David Shulkin improperly accepted Wimbledon tickets and used taxpayers’ money to pay his wife’s airfare during a European trip last summer — findings Shulkin’s lawyers are blasting as questionable and unfair.
The impending report is expected to criticize Shulkin for taking a possibly unnecessary trip and using a VA employee to arrange his leisure time.
An itinerary shows the couple toured a castle and palaces, took a Thames River cruise and had dinner at Piccadilly Circus in London, among other activities.
In short, Trump’s choice to run the government agency that’s supposed to serve America’s veterans is using vital resources from the VA to fund his leisure trips – this after an entire campaign’s worth of promises from Trump that he will be the best president for veterans.
Of course, this isn’t just an isolated incident. This is part of a pattern of members of the administration – up to and including the president himself – using their positions for their own personal benefit.
The most high-profile member of the administration to be caught siphoning taxpayer money for personal travel – ex-Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price – was forced to resign amid similar controversy after he racked up a $1 million taxpayer bill.
As ABC News pointed out in October, Price was one of at least five other members of the administration – Treasure Secretary Steve Mnuchin, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway – who have used tax dollars to fund their personal travels.
The news that the administration is squandering money meant for those who fight to protect the country is particularly troubling, though, given the sacrifices veterans make for this country and how frequently the president promised to reward those sacrifices.
This is the latest proof that the Trump administration sees the government not as a way to better the lives of the American people – veterans, in particular – but as their personal, taxpayer-funded playtoy.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.