White House Defends Ronny Jackson Against ‘Outrageous’ Claims

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The White House again beefed up its support of embattled Veterans Affairs secretary nominee Ronny Jackson on Wednesday, with White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders calling the allegations against him “outrageous.”

When asked about President Trump’s meeting with Jackson in the Oval Office on Tuesday, Sanders said she wasn’t going to go “line by line on every outrageous thing out there right now,” but said some of the allegations were discussed in the meeting.

“There is probably not a person around that has managed a department of 300,000,” she said, responding to questions about Trump’s acknowledgment on Tuesday that there were questions about whether Jackson had the experience necessary to run the VA. “Certainly he’s a very highly qualified, highly respected person in the military and in the medical community and that’s something that we strongly feel that veterans need in the VA.”

The defense of Jackson follows new reports that the White House physician — whom Trump nominated to replace David Shulkin, who Trump fired amid a travel ethics scandal — was nicknamed the “candy man” for his leniency in handing out prescription medication like Ambien to White House staffers and even journalists on long flights. Jackson also reportedly drunkenly banged on the hotel room door of a female employee during a trip overseas in 2015 so loudly that the Secret Service had to get involved to keep him from waking then-President Obama.

The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee announced Tuesday that it was postponing Jackson’s confirmation hearing while it reviews the allegations of hostile work behavior, excessive drinking on the job and impropriety in dispensing medication, brought forward by at least 20 current and former military members. Jackson has reportedly denied all the allegations in conversations with senators on Capitol Hill.

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