Donald Trump called on Montana Senator Jon Tester to resign over his (Tester’s) role in derailing Trump’s pick to head the Department of Veterans Affairs, Dr. Ronny Jackson, CNN is reporting.
In an angry series of tweets on Saturday morning, the 45th president railed against the Montana Democrat, who had raised concerns about Jackson – concerns which ultimately caused Jackson to withdraw his nomination.
“Allegations made by Senator Jon Tester against Admiral/Doctor Ron Jackson are proving false. The Secret Service is unable to confirm (in fact they deny) any of the phony Democrat charges which have absolutely devastated the wonderful Jackson family. Tester should resign. The…..
….great people of Montana will not stand for this kind of slander when talking of a great human being. Admiral Jackson is the kind of man that those in Montana would most respect and admire, and now, for no reason whatsoever, his reputation has been shattered. Not fair, Tester!”
Trump had nominated his longtime friend and personal physician to head the embattled VA. That nomination had to go through the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, on which Tester sits. Tester had raised concerns about Jackson’s nomination, based on reports that emerged earlier this week of inappropriate behavior on Jackson’s part.
As reported in a companion CNN report, allegations emerged last week that during an overseas trip in 2015, a drunken Jackson, who at the time was the White House physician, banged on the hotel room door of a female employee. So loud was the alleged ruckus that the Secret Service had to intervene out of concerns that he would wake up then-president Barack Obama. The allegations were made by four people with knowledge of the incident who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Those allegations followed earlier reports that Jackson drank excessively on the job and, as Tester described, created a “toxic work environment.”
“We were told time and time again the people above him he treated like gold, the people below him, he belittled, screamed at them, really created a very toxic environment to the point where the people who worked around him felt like they had to walk on eggshells because of his lack of respect for his job.”
Tester and his committee, for their parts, interviewed 20 “former and current members of the military” who were familiar with Jackson. Those interviewees also echoed concerns about Jackson’s work habits and, in particular, his drinking.
“If you are drunk and something happens with the president, it’s very difficult to go in and treat the president. That’s what multiple people told us this was the case on several different trips.”
Jackson later withdrew his nomination for the VA job.
It is unclear what Trump means by his statement that the allegations are “proving true.” However, CNN does note that the Secret Service provided the news outlet with a statement saying that they had no records of any agents having to intervene with Dr. Jackson.
“A thorough review of internal documents related to all Presidential foreign travel that occurred in 2015, in addition to interviews of personnel who were present during foreign travel that occurred during the same time frame, has resulted in no information that would indicate the allegation is accurate.”
On Friday, Trump told Fox & Friends that Tester would have a “big price to pay in Montana,” according to Vox. And again on Friday, during a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Trump called Tester “an absolute disgrace.”