When a nominee steps forward and is immediately hit with the mountain of accusations on the level that White House physician, Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson has had to deal with, it almost always ends the same.
When the news hit that former and current White House medical staffers were complaining about a hostile work environment under Jackson, excessive drinking and drunken incidents, as well as improperly distributing prescription medications, the writing was pretty much on the wall.
Jackson had sworn his innocence and seemed determined to press on, as of Wednesday, but by Thursday morning, the sheer volume of complaints (around 2 dozen staffers had stepped forward, so far) was too much.
That, and the decision by the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee to postpone his confirmation nomination until further notice led to his decision to withdraw his name.
The White House had defended Jackson amid the allegations, which were detailed in a report released by ranking member Jon Tester (D-Mont.) on Wednesday. Tester and committee chairman Johnny Isackson (R-Ga.) jointly announced the postponement of Jackson’s hearing and sent a letter to the administration asking for “any and all communications” between the White House and Defense Department about “allegations” on Jackson from 2006 to the present.
While Democrats are using this as an opportunity to go after the Trump administration for failing to vet nominees, Republicans defended the choice of Jackson.
“It is really frustrating to me that this administration continues to not vet, or sloppily send over a nominee that leaves us to really vet them and look at serious questions,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.)
Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) told reporters after his meeting that he had yet to see any of the allegations against Jackson and that Jackson himself denied the accusations.
“He does deny he’s done anything wrong in the service to the country,” Moran said. “He indicated he knows of nothing that would prohibit him from being qualified, capable and the right person to be the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.”
It wasn’t just the allegations. It was the experience that caused concerns for some.
Jackson has been a Navy physician since about 1995. He was pegged to be the White House doctor in 2006, according to his bio, while he was still serving in Iraq.
But does he have what it takes to lead the second largest government department in the U.S.?
It isn’t an experiment many lawmakers were willing to take, so even had the mountain of accusations of misconduct not came about, he would likely have withered under intense questioning during confirmation hearings.