WH Doubles Down Support For Jackson, Who Vows To Continue With Confirmation

UNITED STATES - APRIL 24: Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, nominee for Veterans Affairs secretary, leaves Dirsken Building after a meeting on Capitol Hill with Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., on April 24, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Group

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.

White House strategic communications director Mercedes Schlapp appeared on Fox News on Tuesday evening to amplify Jackson and cast doubt on the accusations.

“I mean, these are false allegations. Let’s just start from there,” she told Fox News. “We know for sure that he has not been a target of an IG report. We’ve seen Democrats and Republicans come out in favor of Ronny Jackson. In fact, you had President Obama basically saying that Admiral Jackson was poised under pressure, that he should be promoted. … I just think it’s unfortunate that what we are seeing in these confirmation processes are these very qualified, honorable individuals being dragged through the mud. That needs to stop. Let Dr. Jackson have his hearing.”

Unnamed White House aides also told CNN that Jackson had “improved unit morale” during his time overseeing the White House medical unit and that his record as a physician was “impeccable.” Anonymous White House officials told The Washington Post that they were aware of the allegations against Jackson, but said the claims were overblown. Jackson never gave out narcotics and sometimes gave Ambien to staff and even reporters on long flights, according to the Post’s sources, which also reportedthat Jackson never drank while working at the White House, but may have had too much to drink during an occasional overseas trip.

The White House also released documents that painted Jackson in a positive light on Tuesday evening, like a 2016 note from former President Barack Obama praising Jackson for being “poised under pressure,” according to the Post.

In private meetings with senators on Tuesday, Jackson reportedly denied all of the allegations and has vowed to stick it out — according to sources who spoke with CNN and Reuters — even after Trump offered him an out on Tuesday when he postulated that he wouldn’t put himself through the ringer if he were Jackson.

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