Jackson withdraws VA secretary nomination

Jackson withdraws VA secretary nomination

Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson is President Donald Trump's personal physician. The president has nominated Jackson to replace Dr. David Shulkin as secretary of Veterans Affairs. (U.S. Navy photo)

WASHINGTON – White House physician Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson has withdrawn his nomination for Veterans Affairs secretary.

“Unfortunately, because of how Washington works, these false allegations have become a distraction for this president and the important issue we must be addressing – how we give the best care to our nation’s heroes,” Jackson said in Thursday morning statement released by the White House. “While I will forever be grateful for the trust and confidence President Trump has placed in me by giving me this opportunity, I am regretfully withdrawing my nomination to be Secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

Jackson’s announcement follows reports that he oversaw a hostile work environment, over-prescribed medication and frequently got drunk at work. Whistleblowers brought the allegations to the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. The committee then postponed Jackson’s Wednesday confirmation hearing. Many of the allegations are documented in a 2012 report by the Navy Inspector General.

President Donald Trump reaffirmed his support for Jackson at a Tuesday news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron but Trump also said he believed Jackson should withdraw.

The ranking Democrat on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee said he hopes the next VA secretary nominee is more throughly vetted.

“The next Secretary must have a commitment to reform a strained health care system and a willingness to stand up to special interests who want to privatize the VA,” Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) said in a statement. “My sleeves are rolled up and ready to work with Chairman Isakson to vet and confirm a Secretary who is fit to run the VA.”

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