Trump says Jackson must decide on Veterans Affairs nomination
- Author: Ismael Montgomery Apr 27, 2018,
Apr 27, 2018, 5:21
The White House on Tuesday evening reinforced its support of President Trump physician Ronny Jackson, who faces an arduous battle to become secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs after allegations surfaced this week that Jackson improperly dispensed medications, created a toxic work environment and drank on the job. The gap created the perception that the president and White House were no longer fully behind the Navy rear admiral, who also was Obama's White House doctor while he was commander in chief. "So, we'll see what happens", Trump said. And even as Trump defended his nominee, he suggested Jackson might prefer to withdraw.
"We will continue looking into these serious allegations and have requested additional information from the White House to enable the committee to conduct a full review", they said. She did not comment on the specific allegations against Jackson.
"If you don't do the vetting effectively at the front end, you pay the consequences on the back end", Stier said.
The allegations were first reported by the New York Times. Staffers described their situation as being like kids stuck between two parents in a nasty divorce. He said the information was provided to him by "20 military folks and retired military folks".
Whistleblowers and investigators said Jackson had fostered a hostile work environment during the time he was involved in a power struggle with Dr. Jeffrey Kuhlman over the White House medical unit.
"He is the primary attendant of the president, the most powerful man in the world", Mr. Tester said in an interview late Tuesday.
"What do you need it for?"
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On CNN, Tester said they received reports of Jackson walking down the aisle way of the airplane during long presidential trips, offering prescription drugs that promote sleep or wakefulness to anyone who wanted them. Anonymous White House officials told The Washington Post that they were aware of the allegations against Jackson, but said the claims were overblown. It was the GOP chairman of the Veterans Committee, Johnny Isakson, who chose to postpone the hearing. However, some former colleagues have come to the nominee's defense. "I never heard any complaints". There were widespread concerns about his lack of management experience from the very start, and his nomination reportedly "rattled" West Wing staffers. "If I were him. the fact is I wouldn't do it", Trump said.
Jackson, who was tapped after the president fired David Shulkin, is known by the public mainly for the effusive news conference in which he declared Trump so healthy that if he had a better diet he could live for 200 years.
That 2012 "command climate assessment" was requested by Jackson, the senior official said, noting it did blame he and then-Capt. "He has improved unit morale, received glowing reviews and promotions under Republican and Democrat presidents, and has been given a clean vet from the Federal Bureau of Investigation".
Trump's reliance on his gut instinct over vetting, emphasis on personal rapport over experience and skill, and penchant for firing those who fall out of favor have rendered his administration organizationally feckless - unable to carry out his policies, or function effectively at all.
"There's a lot of smoke there", Tester told All Things Considered about the as-yet-unsubstantiated allegations.
The president spoke hours after Senator Johnny Isakson, chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, said he and the panel's ranking Democrat, Jon Tester, chose to delay a hearing on Jackson's nomination that had been scheduled for Wednesday and sent a letter to Trump seeking more information. Trump acknowledged on Tuesday that Jackson had an "experience problem".
"I'll always stand behind him", the president said. "And if it's just like kind of a knee-jerk, here's a warm body? If the president is going to put forward somebody's name, he needs to have the confidence in that individual", Murkowski said.