Senate Committee Will Hold Jackson Hearing Once Determine If ‘Fit To Serve’

White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson speaks to reporters during the daily briefing at the White House on January 16, 2018. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The ranking Democrat on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee told reporters Tuesday that the hearing for President Trump’s VA secretary nominee would move forward once the committee concludes whether Ronny Jackson is “fit to serve or not.”

The committee is currently reviewing allegations that were raised “about a week ago” relating to Jackson’s workplace conduct, the ranking Democrat Sen. John Tester (D-MT) said Tuesday. Tester would not confirm the nature of the allegations against Jackson — the White House physician who Trump nominated to run the VA after he fired former Secretary David Shulkin — but said there are “a lot of things we’re looking into.”

In a letter sent to Trump on Tuesday, Tester and Chairman Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) asked Trump for “all documentation pertaining to Rear Admiral Jackson’s service in the White House Medical Unit and as Physician to the President,” according to NBC. Tester and Isakson also asked for any communication between the Department of Defense and the White House “regarding allegations or incidents involving” Jackson from 2006 to the present.

Responding to questions about whether the White House should have more thoroughly vetted Jackson before nominating him to lead the VA, Tester told reporters that he didn’t know “what process they go though on the vetting.”

“It’s our job to thoroughly vet these candidates, we are doing that,” he said. “Once we come to the conclusion, whether he’s fit to serve or not, then we’ll move forward with the hearing.”

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD), told MSNBC Tuesday that “unsubstantiated allegations” against Jackson had surfaced and said the committee was doing its “due diligence” to investigate.

Several news outlets have reported that current and former staff in the White House medical unit have complained about Jackson for a “hostile work environment.” CBS reported that staffers complained about Jackson for alleged “excessive drinking on the job” and “improperly dispensing meds.” 

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