President Donald Trump recently fired Secretary of Veteran Affairs David Shulkin and immediately nominated Dr. Ronny Jackson, known by most as the White House physician. The nomination immediately prompted concerns by many regarding whether Jackson had the type of management experience necessary to run the large organization. Now, however, it appears that Jackson’s confirmation may be sidelined due to emerging allegations that could torpedo the nomination entirely.
CBS News details that allegations regarding a “hostile work environment” under Dr. Ronny Jackson’s leadership have emerged. Both CBS News and the New York Times detail that these allegations involve the possibility that Jackson was involved in improperly dispensing or overprescribing medications and was excessively drinking alcohol while working. Sources detail that the allegations involve more than one or two specific incidents and may demonstrate a pattern of problematic behavior.
The allegations first arose about a week ago and the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee has been investigating the claims since then. Jackson was due to have his confirmation hearing take place on Wednesday, but that hearing has now been indefinitely postponed.
The White House reportedly stands by Jackson’s nomination. However, insiders have voiced concerns that these allegations could force President Trump to come up with a new nominee to become the secretary of Veteran Affairs.
We are keeping a very close eye on this. We already had deep concerns about Dr. Jackson's ability to handle the department.https://t.co/8DIWPiecpY
— VoteVets (@votevets) April 24, 2018
Fox News shares that Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee initiated the postponement in order to resolve the “unsubstantiated allegations” against Jackson. It is not known at this point when that confirmation hearing might be rescheduled or when additional details regarding the allegations will be revealed.
Senators Isakson and Tester of the committee have penned a letter to the White House asking for documentation related to Jackson and any misconduct investigations dating back to 2006. Questions regarding the vetting of Jackson by the White House are already emerging while Sam Stein of the Daily Beast shared via Twitter that a well-placed source is blasting the anonymous allegations, describing them as “the height of slander and irresponsibility.”
The misconduct allegations against Dr. Ronny Jackson are clearly being taken very seriously by the committee involved and many will be interested to see how this evolves. Will President Donald Trump stand by his nomination or will Jackson ultimately withdraw and put the pressure on the president to appoint someone new to the beleaguered Veteran Affairs position?