Ronny Jackson, Trump's pick for veterans affairs secy, withdraws nomination

Saturday, 28 Apr, 2018

A ride on President Trump's bullet train can be thrilling, but it is often a brutal journey that leaves some bloodied by the side of the tracks. The Wounded Warrior Project sponsors the four-day event in the Washington area to inspire service members with injuries and disabilities.

Based on conversations with 23 of Jackson's current and former colleagues at the White House Medical Unit, the summary said Jackson exhibited a pattern of recklessly prescribing drugs and drunken behavior, including crashing a government vehicle while intoxicated and doling out such a large supply of a prescription opioid that staffers panicked because they thought the drugs were missing. He also noted that April was the fourth anniversary of a scandal at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix in which some veterans died while waiting for appointments.

Ronny Jackson's withdrawal from consideration to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) stanched an immediate political crisis for the Trump White House, but it sparked new questions over his future as the president's doctor and the fate of the embattled agency.

The president is enraged over Tester's work documenting allegations of malfeasance by Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, which quickly unraveled Jackson's nomination to be VA secretary and marks a turning point in the relationship between the moderate Democrat and Trump.

He slammed the saga as "an absolute disgrace" in light of Jackson being endorsed by Obama and President George W. Bush. But Jackson gave the president a top rating.

'You have President Trump giving him an A-plus report, ' said President Trump.

The leading person now under consideration for the VA post is former Rep. Jeff Miller, who chaired the House Veterans Affairs Committee before retiring a year ago, according to White House officials.

The White House medical unit that Jackson ran successfully passed regular controlled substance audits, according to the records for the last three years.

'I've had it happen to me with the Russian collusion hoax - it's a hoax, ' Trump said, comparing what Jackson went through with his own need to contend with the Russia probe.

During the presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly pledged to fix the VA by bringing accountability and expanding access to private doctors, criticizing the department as "the most corrupt".

Jackson uses a government vehicle furnished with sirens and other equipment necessary in a presidential emergency, officials said. Democratic Sen. Jon Tester's office collected the allegations.

Shah said on CNN earlier that White House aides are "of course" preparing for the possibility that Jackson may decide to withdraw his nomination.

Tester's office did not respond to a request for comment, though the second-term senator has defended the information's release.

Democrats said Thursday that the allegations against Jackson reflected a lack of proper vetting by the White House.

He told reporters Thursday that he "absolutely" stood by his decision to release the allegations.

The Washington Post has independently been told stories of misconduct by Jackson similar to those reported by Tester's staff, including descriptions that he drank while on duty.

"People like you were asking me a bunch of questions", he added, referring to the media. "I think it's a problem of resources right now".