President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Veteran’s Affairs is under fire for a series of alleged incidents that have left Congressional Republicans and Democrats wondering whether the Trump administration properly vetted White House physician Ronny Jackson.
Jackson, a rear admiral in the Navy and physician to the president since 2013 under Barack Obama, is facing numerous allegations involving wrongdoing and questionable behavior.
He’s been called “the Candy Man,” according to news reports, for reportedly handing out prescriptions for sleep aids to White House staff members and even reporters. A White House staffer told the Senate Veteran’s Affairs Committee Jackson gave “a large supply” of the prescription opioid Percocet to a White House military office worker and that Jackson’s staff was “panicked” when it couldn’t account for the missing drugs, according to The New York Times.
The Times also reported Jackson wrote himself prescriptions, then asked a physician assistant to give him the meds when he got caught.
He’s accused of drunken driving and reportedly crashed a government vehicle while intoxicated after attending a Secret Service party, which he denies, CNN reported. Jackson is also accused of getting drunk on an overseas trip and banging on the hotel room door of a female colleague.
Some of these allegations are part of a two-page document on Jackson compiled by Democrats on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
The Trump administration has called the allegations against Jackson “unfair,” and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday the president stands behind his nominee.
After the Senate postponed Jackson’s confirmation hearing on Monday amid these allegations of improper behavior, the White House closed ranks, supporting Jackson’s nomination, even though Trump, in a meeting Monday afternoon, told Jackson he’d understand if Jackson pulled out of the process.
The doctor told reporters on Monday he plans on rescheduling the canceled hearing.
Jackson’s nomination for Veterans Affairs secretary follows Trump’s termination of David Shulkin last month after reports of tension at the agency and allegations of misuse of funds.
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