Trump's VA nominee allegedly banged on female employee's hotel door while drunk
Trump's VA nominee allegedly banged on female employee's hotel door while drunk
How Ronny L. Jackson found his VA nomination rapidly imperiled
25 April, 2018, 16:05
Brian McKeon, a former executive secretary and chief of staff of the National Security Council in the Obama administration, said in an interview that Jackson and other White House doctors would distribute Ambien freely if people requested it, but only in small doses, such as in an envelope with two or three pills.
Trump said he didn't want to put Jackson through "a process like this - it's too ugly and too disgusting. I really don't think personally he should do it, but it's totally his - I would stand behind him - totally his decision". She did not comment on the specific allegations against Jackson.
The president met Tuesday in the Oval Office with Jackson, a White House official confirmed to NPR.
Ronny Jackson was Trump's pick to lead the Department of Veteran Affairs. The two also sent a letter to Trump seeking more information. Tester says what started as a standard vetting of Jackson's qualifications rapidly escalated into an "all hands-on deck" operation in the wake of those accusations. The committee has not received any supplemental or verifying documents, like inspector general reports. Jackson is also accused of creating a "toxic work environment".
A watchdog report reviewed Tuesday by The Associated Press appeared to corroborate some of those allegations. But inadequate vetting by the White House has been a problem since the election. The report suggested the White House consider replacing Jackson or Dr. Jeffrey Kuhlman - or both. "We were told stories where he was repeatedly drunk while on duty where his main job was to take care of the most powerful man in the world", Tester said.
"There is a severe and pervasive lack of trust in the leadership that has deteriorated to the point that staff walk on 'eggshells, '" the assessment found.
In addition to Jackson's lack of management experience at a large organization, the physician had come under fire for his glowing appraisal of Trump's health after the president had his annual physical in January.
The inspector general report reviewed by The AP includes no references to improper prescribing or the use of alcohol.
Jackson, the White House physician and a former combat surgeon, was scheduled to testify before the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs on Wednesday. "These very serious questions about Admiral Jackson need answers, and the answers should have been ready well before the questions were raised publicly". "It is sloppy, it is disrespectful to our veterans, and it is wrong", Murray said. "So nobody has the experience".
The former colleagues said he was nicknamed "Candyman" because of how freely he distributed medications, a moniker Testertold CNN that he heard about as well from Jackson's associates. Kuhlman was the physician to President Barack Obama at the time and had previously held the role occupied by Jackson: director of the White House Medical Unit. "All of them were willing to talk", said Sen.
Isakson, a Georgia Republican, declined to say anything more at the Capitol.
The letter requested information about rumored Pentagon inspector general reports said to detail allegations into Jackson's conduct.
Trump obviously chose Jackson because he feels comfortable with him.
"The truth is Adm. Jackson was the primary healthcare provider for the president", he said.
Republicans returned the favor once Trump was in the White House, and they had the Senate majority, deploying the tactic to seat Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court.
Several lawmakers from both parties criticized the White House for not doing a thorough job of investigating its own nominees.
"We take very seriously our constitutional duty to thoroughly and carefully vet each nominee sent to the Senate for confirmation", said the chairman, Sen. Jerry Moran, a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. "This is a vicious group of people that malign, and they do, and I lived through it, we all live through it".
He was ousted after questions about his official travel and amid an internal administration fight over how much of the medical care delivered to veterans could be outsourced to private insurers.
"All I can tell you is we didn't initiate this discussion", Tester said.
Speaking with reporters, neither Isakson nor Tester said Jackson's nomination should be withdrawn.
But White House physicians, including Jackson's predecessors, have for years distributed small amounts of Ambien, a prescription sleep aid, to White House staff and members of the press flying on long overseas trips.
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