White House physician's VA nomination on hold

27 April, 2018, 00:27 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • White House physician Ronny Jackson speaks to reporters during a White House briefing in Jnauary

During a news conference alongside the French president on Tuesday afternoon, President Trump made remarks about Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, his embattled pick to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, that left many with the impression that he wanted him to withdraw.

Many questioned Jackson's qualifications after Trump announced the nomination last month.

New details about the alleged conduct of White House physician Ronny Jackson emerged on Tuesday night, almost 24 hours after the first public allegations against him came to light. including a claim that he banged on the hotel-room door of a female employee while intoxicated. This is the same hearing that has been indefinitely delayed by the senators who have concerns, and more so now in light of the recent allegations.

Anonymous White House officials told The Washington Post that they were aware of the allegations against Jackson, but said the claims were overblown.

Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal says some Republicans have told him that they think the hearing should be postponed, which he says deserves consideration. The Associated Press reported that a Watchdog's report said Jackson, a captain at the time, demonstrated "unprofessional behavior" when he was locked in a power struggle with a rival doctor, who was of the same rank.

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Montana Senator Jon Tester, the top Democrat on the committee, told NPR that more than 20 military personnel had come forward with concerns about improper distribution of sleeping pills and drinking alcohol on overseas trips, as well as creating a toxic work environment. He also sent the White House a message, "do your vetting better" to avoid embarrassing staffing situations like this one [VIDEO]. The information included praise from Obama, including the 44th president's recommendation that Jackson, a Navy officer, be promoted ahead of his peers.

"I don't want to put a man through a process like this, it's too ugly and too disgusting, so we'll see what happens", Trump added.

As controversy engulfed Jackson Monday, Trump appeared to stand by his nominee while hitting out at the reports questioning his previous conduct. "The staff characterized the working environment as being caught between parents going through a bitter divorce", one report said. The White House and Secret Service were asked to comment on these reports but declined, according to CNN'.

The report suggested the White House consider replacing Jackson or Dr. Jeffrey Kuhlman -or both.

Several lawmakers said the allegations haven't been substantiated, but they must be addressed.

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It was uncertain late Tuesday whether Jackson would continue with the confirmation process.

But oddly, they also released a damning Inspector General's report, which had called for Jackson's removal.

Trump's first VA secretary, David Shulkin, was dismissed after an ethics scandal and mounting rebellion within the agency. The former staffer confirmed that Jackson and other White House doctors provided Ambien, a sleep medication, when staffers requested them while on overnight flights to Europe and Asia.

"The president says, 'Oh yeah, I wouldn't move forward with it.' I mean, what does that say?" Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., remained uncommitted to supporting the nominee, and a number of senior GOP aides on Capitol Hill estimated his chances of confirmation were slim.

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