Don't get distracted by scandalous allegations: The key problem with Trump's VA nominee is he's unqualified

  • A confirmation for Ronny Jackson, President Donald Trump’s nominee to be secretary of Veterans Affairs, was postponed Tuesday amid allegations of professional misconduct.
  • The allegations don’t change the fact that Jackson is fundamentally unqualified for the job.

Department of Veterans Affairs secretary-designee Ronny Jackson’s confirmation hearing has been indefinitely postponed, reportedly because of two sets of concerns.

One is an unspecified (and as yet unverified) set of allegations about professional misconduct. The other is the problem that’s been obvious since Jackson was nominated: He’s only ever managed a staff of about two-dozen people and, despite being a medical doctor, he lacks the relevant qualifications to oversee a complicated and sometimes troubled agency with 375,000 employees.

It would be strange if Jackson’s confirmation fight ended up being about misconduct.

Here’s the problem: Suppose the allegations against Jackson prove unfounded. (Who knows, at this point?) Then we’ll hear from Trump’s allies that Jackson has been cleared and should therefore be confirmed – never mind the set of concerns about his qualifications that exist, no matter how excellent his standard of professional conduct has been.

As for Jackson, there’s a lesson he could have drawn from Harriet Miers and any number of other failed nominees before him: If the president offers you a high-profile job for which you are unqualified, decline it.

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