Donald Trump: Next Veterans Affairs Secretary Nominee Will Have Political Experience


The White House stood by Jackson as recently as Tuesday, even as Trump hinted that the doctor should withdraw his bid for the VA role.

White House doctor Ronny Jackson has withdrawn as a nominee to lead the US Department of Veterans Affairs amid a flurry of misconduct allegations. Witnesses allege that Ronny Jackson wrote himself prescriptions and on at least one occasion during the Obama presidency, "could not be reached when needed because he was passed out drunk in his hotel room", according to the memo.

Jackson, who serves as personal physician to the president, withdrew in the wake of concerns about ethics and temperament brought forth by more than 20 current and former colleagues.

Based on conversations with 23 of Jackson's current and former colleagues at the White House Medical Unit, the summary said Jackson exhibited a pattern of recklessly prescribing drugs and drunken behaviour, including crashing a government vehicle while intoxicated and doling out such a large supply of a prescription opioid that staffers panicked because they thought the drugs were missing.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer blamed the White House for being "sloppy and careless" in vetting its candidate, and said senators were obligated to pursue the complaints from military officials.

Jackson's announcement comes as Senate Democrats revealed they planned to further probe the allegations about his on-the-job conduct.

They began interviewing his colleagues, many of them active-duty military officers, whose assessment of the admiral alarmed not only Mr Tester but the committee's chairman, Senator Johnny Isakson, a Georgia Republican, who agreed to postpone Adm Jackson's confirmation hearing while lawmakers investigated the allegations. "They are trying to destroy a man", Trump said of the allegations.

At a press briefing April 25, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Dr. Jackson had passed four background checks with "glowing evaluations from his superiors", including one conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and none of the checks revealed areas of concern.

Earlier this week, Trump called Jackson "one of the finest people" he's ever met and said he didn't want to put Jackson through a "process like this". Jackson also allegedly routinely handed out prescription drugs to West Wing staff, including the opioid Percocet, the sleeping pill Ambien, and the stimulant Modafinil, given to senior White House officials on worldwide trips.

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The agency also lacks Senate-confirmed leaders at many of its top posts, including the top technology job, which is now being filled on an acting basis by a former Trump campaign staffer who is himself being sued by a former colleague for harassment and discrimination.

Trump said he thinks Tester will have a "big price to pay in Montana", adding, "I think this is going to cause him a lot of problems in his state".

Jackson thanked Trump for the opportunity to serve in VA and said the allegations, which he denied, had become a distraction.

The commander-in-chief called into "Fox & Friends" on Thursday morning and said he "saw where this was going".

"Not only does Adm. Jackson lack the management experience necessary to successfully lead the 360,000-person, almost $200 billion federal agency, it is apparent there are also serious questions about his character and job performance", Walz also said.

"It's not political", Tester, D-Mont., said Thursday.

Jackson huddled late Wednesday evening with top White House press staff.

The upset was the latest chaotic personnel decision to rock Trump's White House, which has been roiled by an unusually high number of firings and resignations. As the White House physician, Jackson led a medical staff of about two dozen people.