This morning, Senators on the Committee of Veterans’ Affairs postponed the confirmation hearing for Ronny L Jackson amid whispers that a bipartisan group of lawmakers had launched an investigation into vague unsavory activities from Jackson’s past, requesting information from a military personnel office on Jackson dating back to 2006.
Of course, it was only a matter of time before the allegations that could very well sink Jackson’s nomination became public. And barely a half hour after the market closed on Tuesday, reports by CNN and the Associated Press revealed that Jackson had exhibited “unprofessional behavior” in power struggles with rival doctors, according to a 2012 inspector general report cited by the AP. That report also recommended that Jackson and one of these rivals be removed from their White House roles.
Overall, that’s slightly more exciting than rumors that Jackson presided over a “hostile work environment” when he was the lead White House doctor, blithely overprescribing painkillers and drinking on the job, according to a Whistleblower who spoke with lawmakers, according to CNN.
WASHINGTON (AP) — APNewsBreak: 2012 inspector general report suggested removing VA nominee Ronny Jackson and rival from White House roles.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 24, 2018
During a press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron Tuesday afternoon, President Trump insisted that withdrawing Jackson’s nomination would be “totally his decision”.
However, the president immediately undercut this notion by questioning why any man would want to “go through that” – referring to the invasive and unjust scrutiny from lawmakers and the “fake news.”
“I don’t want to put a man through a process like this,” Mr. Trump said, calling the allegations about Dr. Jackson “ugly.” The president said, “The fact is, I wouldn’t do it. What does he need it for? To be abused by a number of politicians?”
“It’s totally his decision,” Mr. Trump added, saying that he had talked with Dr. Jackson earlier in the day. Mr. Trump angrily accused his adversaries on Capitol Hill of going after Dr. Jackson because they have failed to block Mike Pompeo, the president’s nominee to become the next secretary of state.
“They failed to stop him, so now they say ‘who’s next?'” the president told reporters during the news conference in the East Room.
If he does somehow make it through what we imagine would be an incredibly bruising confirmation process, Jackson – famously nominated after serving as Trump’s White House physician – would be taking over from David Shulkin, who was pushed out amid a scandal about possible ethics violations involving a pair of Wimbledon tickets and a flight on a private plane. After he was let go, many of Shulkin’s supporters from both parties (in addition to his ethics violations, Shulkin had the unlucky fortune of being an Obama holdover) argued that his violations were comparatively mild by Trump administration standards.
And for all we know, the same might be true of Jackson, who served as chief White House doctor under both Republican and Democratic presidents.