‘These Are False Accusations’: Top Trump Pick Withdraws

Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson has withdrawn his name for consideration to lead the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.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.

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.

The White House has repeatily defended Jackson amid the attacks, which the White House physician said were unexpected.

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“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.

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.

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.

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.”



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