Jackson got “Scaramucci-ed” for allegations that he was “abusive” and drunk on the job.
Photo by Associated Press/YouTube
President Donald Trump’s embattled Department of Veterans Affairs nominee, Ronny Jackson, has withdrawn after being dogged by allegations of questionable behavior.
In a statement released Thursday, April 26, Jackson denied the allegations, but decided to withdraw out of deference to the president. “Unfortunately, because of how Washington works, these false allegations have become a distraction for this president and the important issue we must be addressing — how we give the best care to our nation’s heroes,” Jackson said.
“While I will forever be grateful for the trust and confidence President Trump has placed in me by giving me this opportunity, I am regretfully withdrawing my nomination to be secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs,” Jackson said.
Democratic staff on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee released a two-page document on Wednesday, April 25, containing a long list of allegations based on conversations with 23 of Jackson’s current and former colleagues. They accuse Jackson of being “abusive,” drunk on the job, and that he handed out prescription medications “like candy.”
BREAKING: A document compiled by Democrats on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee lists a range of allegations detailed by 23 current and former colleagues about Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, President Trump's pick to lead the Veterans Affairs Committee. https://t.co/6YIsczqwXvpic.twitter.com/DFxVw9DTRh— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) April 25, 2018\n
The Senate committee’s top Democrat, Montana’s Jon Tester was critical of Jackson for allegedly handing out prescription pills to coworkers on an overseas flight. “These are called controlled substances for a reason,” Tester told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
Trump rebuked Tester’s comments during a rambling interview on “Fox & Friends” Thursday morning. “And I watched what Jon Tester of Montana, a state that I won by like over 20 points, they love me and I love them,” Trump said. “And I want to tell you, Jon Tester, I think this is going to cause him a lot of problems in his state. He took a man who is an incredible man, an incredible man, and smeared him.”
While Jackson is withdrawing due to his allegedly problematic personal conduct, critics say he shouldn’t have been nominated in the first place. The Department of Veterans Affairs is the second-largest department in the federal government, and Jackson has very little bureaucratic experience. At the height of his wartime service, Jackson only supervised a few dozen staffers, and has a small staff of around 70 at his current White House position.
Jackson’s unsuccessful nomination joins the ranks of Trump’s other poorly vetted nominees like Anthony Scaramucci. For now, the president may have to find a potential V.A. secretary who has the experience and character necessary to care for the nation’s veterans.