White House Defiant Amid Allegations Jeopardizing Ronny Jackson’s VA Nomination

Ting Shen/ZUMA

The White House on Tuesday defended Ronny Jackson, President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, after troubling allegations surfaced surrounding Jackson’s workplace conduct.

“Admiral Jackson has been on the front lines of deadly combat and saved the lives of many others in serve to this country,” a statement from White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley read. “He’s served as the physician to three Presidents—Republican and Democrat—and has been praised by them all.”

The expression of support came shortly after a Senate committee announced that it was indefinitely postponing Jackson’s confirmation hearings—which were originally scheduled to start Wednesday—as lawmakers became aware of the accusations. The exact nature of the allegations have not been confirmed, but CBS News reported late Monday that they included claims of “excessive” drinking on the job, “improperly dispensing meds,” and that he had created a “hostile work environment.” (The New York Times separately confirmed those allegations later on Tuesday.) It is unclear if the allegations came from current or previous White House medical staff.

The statement from the White House Tuesday appeared to hit at such concerns, adding that “Admiral Jackson’s record of strong, decisive leadership is exactly what’s needed at the VA to ensure our veterans receive the benefits they deserve.”

This new information threatens to upend an already fraught nomination, with both Republicans and Democrats having voiced serious concerns over Jackson’s lack of management experience to helm one of the most troubled agencies in federal government. (Jackson was a combat surgeon in Iraq and has worked at the White House for 12 years, serving under former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.)

Trump’s decision last month to replace his Veterans Affair secretary with Jackson reportedly did not involve any proper vetting normally reserved for a cabinet position. Jackson first received national attention in January after delivering a glowing report on Trump’s physical and mental health. 

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot. That's what Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein tackles in her annual December column—"Billionaires Are Not the Answer"—about the state of journalism and our plans for the year ahead.

We can't afford to let independent reporting depend on the goodwill of the superrich: Please help Mother Jones build an alternative to oligarchy that is funded by and answerable to its readers. Please join us with a tax-deductible, year-end donation so we can keep going after the big stories without fear, favor, or false equivalency.

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot.

Please read our annual column about the state of journalism and Mother Jones' plans for the year ahead, and help us build an alternative to oligarchy by supporting our people-powered journalism with a year-end gift today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.