After news broke that it was Mike Pence’s doctor who first blew the whistle on President Trump’s physician, Dr. Ronny Jackson, now it seems that both the president and the vice president have lost members of their medical staff.
Jennifer Pena, the White House physician assigned to Pence, announced her resignation earlier today. This comes after it was revealed that Pena played a key role in bringing to light concerning behavior from Trump doctor Ronny Jackson. Jackson, who was Trump’s pick for secretary of Veterans’ Affairs, withdrew from consideration for the post last month after reports surfaced that he had been loosely distributing prescription medications and drinking while on official White House travel. The Navy rear admiral, who served as Trump’s primary doctor before his government nomination, has been plagued with allegations from military officials in the White House that he oversaw an unprofessional and hostile work environment, allegations that were made by Pence’s own physician, Dr. Pena.
Pena sent three memos detailing concerns about Jackson after he overstepped his authority and shared Karen Pence’s private medical information with the chief of staff, John Kelly. Pena also briefed Mrs. Pence on the matter, who advised Pena to report the incident to Kelly and White House Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin so that it could go through the appropriate channels. Jackson allegedly became irate after the accusations were made known in an internal memo and exhibited behavior that made Pena “uncomfortable.”
The White House has doggedly defended Jackson, saying the two doctors have long had a strained relationship and that the accusations against Jackson made the situation seem worse than it actually was. Trump even called on Democratic Senator Jon Tester, a member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, to resign after he released a document summarizing the allegations, an act Trump claims was intended to smear Jackson’s good name.
It looks like Pence and his team have taken up on behalf of Trump and Dr. Jackson, calling the allegations troubling and even suggesting that they were intentionally harmful to the physician. Pena’s resignation is just the latest in the fallout from the scandal.