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White House Physician Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson Withdraws From Consideration to Head VA

Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson. US Navy Photo

White House physician Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson withdrew from consideration to be the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs, according to a Thursday morning statement.

“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 said in a statement.

The withdrawal comes as allegations of misconduct during Jackson’s time at the White House emerged during Senate vetting as part of the confirmation process. Senate Democrats released a list of unsubstantiated allegations that include claims Jackson had destroyed a government vehicle after drinking to excess at a Secret Service party.

Other allegations from a command climate survey while Jackson was serving in the Obama White House accused him of overseeing a toxic workplace and included additional claims of drinking and issuing questionable prescriptions, USNI News understands

Jackson pushed back against the claims in the statement.

“Going into this process, I expected tough questions about how to best care for our veterans, but I did not expect to have to dignify baseless and anonymous attacks on my character and integrity,” he said.
“The allegations against me are completely false and fabricated. If they had any merit, I would not have been selected, promoted and entrusted to serve in such a sensitive and important role as physician to three presidents over the past 12 years.”

Unlike military promotion boards, the Senate confirmation process includes information that may not be substantiated by investigators.

Jackson was tapped to replace former VA secretary David Shulkin, who left after a VA Inspector General investigation found he had improperly accepted tickets to Wimbledon and inappropriately using government staff to arrange travel to Europe.

Jackson is a 1992 Texas A&M graduate and has served in the Navy since 1995. He’s served with Navy dive and submarine units and as an emergency medicine doctor in Iraq. In 2006 he was tapped to serve as a White House physician.

“Since arriving at the White House, he has directed the Executive Health Care for the President’s Cabinet and Senior Staff, served as physician supervisor for the Camp David Presidential Retreat, held the position of physician to the White House and led the White House Medical Unit as its director. He has served as White House physician during the past three administrations and was the appointed physician to the president for President Barack Obama. He currently serves as the appointed physician to the president for President Donald J. Trump,” according to his Navy biography.

The following is Jackson’s complete April 26, 2018, statement.

One of the greatest honors in my life has been to serve this country as a physician both on the battlefield with United States Marines and as proud member of the United States Navy.

It has been my distinct honor and privilege to work at the White House and serve three Presidents.

Going into this process, I expected tough questions about how to best care for our veterans, but I did not expect to have to dignify baseless and anonymous attacks on my character and integrity.

The allegations against me are completely false and fabricated. If they had any merit, I would not have been selected, promoted and entrusted to serve in such a sensitive and important role as physician to three presidents over the past 12 years.

In my role as a doctor, I have tirelessly worked to provide excellent care for all my patients. In doing so, I have always adhered to the highest ethical standards.

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.

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.

I am proud of my service to the country and will always be committed to the brave veterans who volunteer to defend our freedoms.

The following is a summary of the allegations released by Senate Democrats.