28 April, 2018
President Donald Trump's pick to lead Veterans Affairs, Ronny Jackson, withdrew April 26 in the wake of late-surfacing allegations about overprescribing drugs and poor leadership while serving as a top White House doctor, saying the "false allegations" against him have become a distraction. Jackson said that Trump was in "excellent" health, "mentally very sharp", and that he had "good genes".
"You get to the bureaucracy, the Department of Veteran Affairs in Washington D.C., and it's hard for any secretary it seems to me to lead that bureaucracy", he said.
Jackson withdrew his nomination following several reports from congressional Democrats alleging that Jackson drank excessively on the job, was lax in handing out prescriptions for sleeping aids and mistreated his employees. The claims include that Jackson had wrecked a government vehicle after getting drunk at a Secret Service going-away party.
They say they've found "no information that would indicate the allegation is accurate" and no record of any incident involving Jackson.
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Trump blasted Tester for "nicknames" like the Candyman, a reference to allegations Jackson liberally handed out Ambien to staffers on planes. "If they are true then there are much larger issues with the White House military office and the security clearance process". That allegation was widely reported by news organizations at the time as lawmakers from both parties expressed concern and indefinitely delayed Dr. Jackson's confirmation hearing.
Jackson has denied the accusations, calling them "baseless and anonymous attacks" on his character and integrity that are 'completely false and fabricated'.
The Secret Service says it has conducted a "thorough review" of internal documents related to Obama's foreign trips in 2015 and interviewed people who were present.
Instead, the White House said, records show that in one instance an upset driver punched out a window on Jackson's vehicle during a trip to Camp David, Md., and in another case, a side-view mirror was hit by a passing truck.
He slammed the saga over Jackson's nomination as "an absolute disgrace", since he had been endorsed by former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
Said Trump, "I think Jon Tester has a big price to pay". He also praised Jackson, who has worked as a White House physician for 12 years, as an "American hero" for exposing what he described as maliciousness in Washington.