Trump Calls on Montana Senator To Resign Over Ronny Jackson Allegations

The President made the statement in tweets early Saturday morning.

Trump at a press conference with German chancellor Angela Merkel on April 27.Kay Neitfeld/DPA via ZUMA Press

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President Donald Trump called on Montana Sen. Jon Tester to resign in a pair of early Saturday morning tweets following a White House statement disputing Tester’s accusations against Ronny Jackson, Trump’s pick for Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Jackson, a White House physician, withdrew from the running for VA Secretary on Thursday under pressure over claims of serious on-the-job misconduct, including allegations that Jackson inappropriately dispensed medications and wrecked a government vehicle in a drunk-driving incident. Tester, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, went public with the allegations against Jackson this week.

Trump called the claims “phony Democrat charges” and said Jackson’s reputation had been “shattered” because of them.

The White House defended Jackson—who was appointed to his role by President Obama and retained by Trump—against at least one of the report’s claims on Friday, noting that a search of White House databases found no record of a drunk driving incident involving Tester; instead, the White House found that Jackson had been involved in three accidents but was not found at fault in any of them. The White House had already defended Jackson against similar attacks earlier in the week. A number of former Obama aides also came to Jackson’s defense this week.

Despite Trump’s singling out of Tester on Saturday, significant Republican opposition had also been mounting against Jackson’s nomination, including from Senator Johnny Isakon of Georgia, the Republican chairman of Veterans’ Affairs Committee, who signed a joint statement with Tester calling for Jackson’s record to be investigated. 

Through a spokesperson, Isakon said on Saturday that he was comfortable with how Jackson’s nomination was handled by his committee.

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