Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin and his wife, accompanied by other VA officials, attended a tennis match at Wimbledon, toured Westminster Abbey, and cruised the Thames River as part of a taxpayer-funded, 10-day work trip to Europe this summer, according to a report.
Shulkin and a group of six people, including his wife, traveled to London and Denmark in July, where Shulkin met with Danish and British officials to discuss veterans' health issues, according to an itinerary of the trip obtained by the Washington Post. The VA secretary traveled in coach on a commercial flight during at least one part of the trip.
The VA secretary attended a conference in London on July 19, one previous secretaries have also attended, that included representatives from Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. He also scheduled a series of meetings in Copenhagen, Denmark, that took place from July 12 to July 14.
On two nights between the official events in London and Copenhagen, Shulkin spent one at a ceremony where a British veteran who served in Afghanistan was honored, and another meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May.
But during the day, Shulkin, his wife, Merle Bari, Acting Undersecretary For Health Poonam Alaigh, her husband, Shulkin's chief of staff, and another aide, as well as a security detail, saw the sights and shopped.
The government covered the cost of Bari's airfare and gave her a per diem for meals, the VA told the Washington Post. Bari, the agency said, was traveling on "approved invitational orders."
"These were important trips with our allies to discuss best practices for taking care of veterans," VA spokesman Curt Cashour told the Washington Post. "The secretary has been transparent on his down-time activities that were similar to what he would have done with his family over a weekend in the U.S."
It's unclear whether the government or Alaigh covered the expenses for Alaigh's husband.
According to the itinerary of the trip, Shulkin had no official business scheduled during the days in between his meetings in London and Copenhagen.
Rather, Shulkin and his group attended the women's final at Wimbledon, where Venus Williams lost to Garbine Muguruza.
The group also visited two palaces in London, Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace, and two in Copenhagen, Christiansborg Palace and Amalienborg Palace.
Revelations of Shulkin's trip come as four of President Trump's Cabinet officials are under scrutiny for their use of private and government planes to travel.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price is facing calls for his resignation after it was revealed he's taken at least 24 trips aboard private jets, as well as trips on military aircraft, costing taxpayers more than $1 million.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's travel on government planes has also come under fire.
Both Price and Mnuchin are facing probes from the inspectors general at their respective agencies, and numerous congressional committees are requesting information on administration officials' travel.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt have also traveled via private or military aircraft.