Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson has withdrawn his name for consideration to lead the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. He will remain working with the Trump administration by continuing to be the White House physician.
President Trump started this week looking to score confirmation votes for both Jackson and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, but will be forced back to the drawing board to find a new VA secretary.
The withdrawal follows a decision by the Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs to delay hearings over “new information” of alleged misconduct by Jackson.
“While I will forever be grateful for the trust and confidence President Trump has placed in me by giving me this opportunity, I am regretfully withdrawing my nomination to be Secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs,” Jackson said, as ABC News reports.
— ABC News (@ABC) April 26, 2018
Jackson reiterated that the allegations against him are “false and fabricated,” but that the added scrutiny has become a “distraction” for Trump.
“Unfortunately, because of how Washington works, these false allegations have become a distraction for this president and the important issue we must be addressing — how we give the best care to our nation’s heroes,” he said, per Business Insider.
BREAKING: White House doctor Ronny Jackson withdraws as VA secretary nominee, calls allegations against him `false and fabricated’
— The Associated Press (@AP) April 26, 2018
The White House has repeatily defended Jackson amid the attacks, which the White House physician said were unexpected.
“Going into this process, I expected tough questions about how to best care for our veterans, but I did not expect to have to dignify baseless and anonymous attacks on my character and dignity,” Jackson added, via Washington Examiner.
Admiral Ronny Jackson is a man of exceptional integrity, character and intellect. We are grateful for his long and distinguished service to our Nation and look forward to continuing to see his warm smile each day at the White House!
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) April 26, 2018
Further in the statement released by the White House, Jackson said the allegations against him lacked any merit as he has been allowed to serve under three administrations.
“The allegations against me are completely false and fabricated. If they had any merit, I would not have been selected, promoted and entrusted to serve in such a sensitive and important role as physician to three presidents over the past 12 years,” he continued.
Allegations against Jackson include offering prescription pain medications to coworkers and being drunk while working.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) April 26, 2018
Per Business Insider:
Jackson found himself in the middle of a runaway scandal this week as multiple accusations of workplace misconduct emerged. Among the claims, which Senate lawmakers were working to verify, Jackson was accused of professional misconduct, including providing “a large supply” of prescription opioids to a White House military officer.
Other as-yet-unverified accounts pointed to “excessive drinking on the job.” That thread preceded a claim detailed by CNN on Tuesday that Jackson drunkenly banged on a female employee’s hotel-room door during an overseas trip in 2015.
Trump came to Jackson’s defense in an interview with “Fox & Friends” Thursday morning, saying, “These are false accusations. These are false— They’re trying to destroy a man.”
Trump also said Jackson had an “unblemished” record.
I’ll say it again, the attacks on Dr. Ronny Jackson are a new low for a group of sleaze bags used to consistently setting the bar lower. Dr. Jackson is one of the finest men I ever worked with and the sleaze attacking him have a lot to cover up themselves. I saw it, it was gross.
— Dan Bongino (@dbongino) April 26, 2018
Here’s more, per Washington Post:
Jackson’s nomination had become imperiled even before Capitol Hill Democrats on Wednesday released new allegations of misconduct. The claims include that Jackson had wrecked a government vehicle after getting drunk at a Secret Service going-away party.
The allegations were contained in a two-page document described by the Democratic staff of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee as a summary of interviews with 23 of Jackson’s current and former colleagues. The document also described Jackson’s “pattern” of handing out medication with no patient history, writing himself prescriptions and contributing to a hostile work environment with “a constant fear of reprisal.”
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) April 26, 2018
Ronny Jackson withdraws.
Dems smeared a great American with baseless allegations. @chuckschumer should be ashamed of himself.
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) April 26, 2018
Why we hate the Dems & Media:
Under Obama: Ronny Jackson is a great man
Under Obama: Ronny Jackson is a fantastic doctor
Under Obama: Ronny Jackson is a man of integrity
Under Obama: Ronny Jackson is a decorated veteran
Under Trump: Ronny Jackson is a drunken drug dealing jerk!
— C3 (@C_3C_3) April 26, 2018