The White House is supporting physician Ronny Jackson as its nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, despite new allegations of workplace misconduct.
“Admiral Jackson has been on the front lines of deadly combat and saved the lives of many others in service to this country,” White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement to TPM Tuesday. “He’s served as the physician to three Presidents — Republican and Democrat — and been praised by them all. Admiral Jackson’s record of strong, decisive leadership is exactly what’s needed at the VA to ensure our veterans receive the benefits they deserve.”
The full-throated support of Jackson comes as the chair and ranking member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Sens. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Sen. John Tester (D-MT), respectively, 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.
The Senate committee is reviewing allegations that have surfaced in the past 24 hours. Former and current White House medical unit staff have reportedly complained that Jackson has held a “hostile work environment” and alleged Jackson has had issues with “excessive drinking on the job” and “improperly dispensing meds.”
The committee announced on Tuesday it had indefinitely postponed Jackson’s confirmation hearing, which was scheduled for Wednesday.
Jackson, who was on Capitol Hill Tuesday, told reporters that he was “disappointed” the hearing was delayed and said he was “looking forward” to the hearing getting rescheduled. He cooly dodged questions about the allegations.
“I’m looking forward to the hearing so we can sit down and I can explain everything to everyone and answer all the senators’ questions,” he said Tuesday, adding that there was “no” inspector general report about the allegations.
President Trump nominated Jackson to run the VA after he fired former Secretary David Shulkin.