- The White House is standing by President Donald Trump’s nominee for Veterans Affairs secretary, US Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, amid emerging allegations of workplace misconduct.
- Jackson, the White House physician, has reportedly been accused of “excessive drinking on the job,” “improperly dispensing” medications, and fostering a “hostile work environment” in the White House medical office.
- Senate lawmakers delayed Jackson’s confirmation hearing, originally scheduled for Wednesday, indefinitely.
The White House is standing by President Donald Trump’s nominee for Veterans Affairs secretary, US Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, amid emerging allegations of inappropriate workplace behaviour.
Sources told CBS News on Monday that Jackson, currently the White House physician, has been accused of “excessive drinking on the job,” “improperly dispensing” medications, and fostering a “hostile work environment” in the White House medical office.
In a statement on Tuesday morning, the White House did not express any hesitation about its continued support for the Iraq War veteran, who also served as the White House physician for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
“Admiral Jackson has been on the front lines of deadly combat and saved the lives of many others in service to this country. He’s served as the physician to three Presidents – Republican and Democrat – and been praised by them all,” Hogan Gidley, deputy White House press secretary, said in a statement on Tuesday. “Admiral Jackson’s record of strong, decisive leadership is exactly what’s needed at the VA to ensure our veterans receive the benefits they deserve.”
But the White House is reportedly reviewing the allegations against Jackson, who did not undergo any formal vetting process or interview normally conducted for cabinet nominees, and three White House officials told The Washington Post on Tuesday that they worry the nomination is “in peril.”
On Tuesday morning, Senate lawmakers indefinitely postponed Jackson’s testimony before the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, which was originally scheduled for Wednesday.
“I can tell you we’re vetting out Jackson,” Sen. Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat, told The Washington Post on Monday evening. “I can’t get into specifics, but we’re doing our job to make sure he’s fit for the job.”
Jackson’s confirmation process was predicted to be difficult, as the physician has been criticised by some lawmakers and veterans advocates who expressed doubt over his ability to lead the nation’s second-largest bureaucracy.
“We have a lot of questions about the nominee,” Joseph Chenelly, national executive director of AmVets, one of the country’s largest veterans service organisation, told Politico. “We think the White House has a tall order ahead of it in showing that this doctor is qualified to lead a $US200 billion agency.”
Jackson drew national attention and fire after performing Trump’s first physical as president, and later delivering a glowing report on the overweight 71-year-old’s health.
This comes after former VA Secretary David Shulkin was ousted last month following a series of scandals and reported infighting at the agency. He was the only Trump cabinet member unanimously confirmed by Congress.