President Donald Trump on Tuesday said White House physician Ronny Jackson will have to decide whether he wants to move forward with his nomination to be secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs after allegations of misconduct have surfaced.
During a press conference with French President Emanuel Macron, Trump said he was supportive of Jackson — whom he called “one of the finest people” he’s met — but told reporters that he’s given Jackson an out if he wants it.
“I told Admiral Jackson just a little while ago, I said, ‘What do you need this for? This is a vicious group of people that malign,'” he said. “His family, his extraordinary success, great doctor, great everything, and he has to listen to the abuse that he has to — I wouldn’t — If I were him, actually in many ways I’d love to be him, but the fact is I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t do it. What does he need it for?”
In the last 24 hours, Jackson has faced allegations of workplace misconduct, including “excessive drinking on the job” and “improperly dispensing meds,” according to sources who spoke with CBS. The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee is currently eying the accusations lobbed against Jackson.
Trump continued, saying “we’ll see what happens” and that the decision to stay in the running for the position was “totally” Jackson’s “decision.”
Trump bashed the "vicious group of people" bringing forward allegations against Ronny Jackson, said it's "totally his decision" if he wants to move forward with the VA Secretary confirmation pic.twitter.com/N19xzOEGBI
— Nicole Lafond (@Nicole_Lafond) April 24, 2018
Trump’s comments come just as the White House offered full-throated support of Jackson and his “record of strong, decisive leadership is exactly what’s needed at the VA to ensure our veterans receive the benefits they deserve.”
The chairman and the ranking member of the Senate Veterans Affairs committee on Tuesday asked the White House for documents related to Jackson’s service in the White House, as well as any communications between the Defense Department and the White House “regarding allegations or incidents involving” Jackson from 2006 to the present.
Jackson’s confirmation hearing — which was set for Wednesday — has been postponed while the committee reviews the allegations.