Trump’s VA pick and Navy Adm. Ronny Jackson withdrew his nomination to lead the VA on Thursday amid questions of past misconduct. The allegations included abusive behavior towards his colleagues, a drinking problem (which led to the crash of a government vehicle) and his reckless dishing out of opioids, which earned him the nickname “Candyman.”
White House doctor Jackson called the allegations “completely false and fabricated” in a statement, but said he withdrew to allow Trump to move forward with a new nominee. He also commented that he “did not expect to have to dignify baseless and anonymous attacks on my character and integrity.”
Jackson had been the subject of media controversy for several days and he added, “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.”
Both Republican and Democratic politicians were wary of Trump’s appointment of Jackson due to Jackson’s lack of experience and his belief in the privatization of VA services.
Trump phoned in to Fox & Friends this morning just after Jackson withdrew his nomination and he blamed Democrats for Jackson’s decision. “These are false accusations. They’re trying to destroy a man. I did say, ‘Welcome to Washington. Welcome to the swamp.’”
Trump also warned Senator Jon Tester from Montana, the top Democrat on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee who released the allegations against Jackson, about Tester’s upcoming reelection in November. “Jon Tester, I think this is going to cause him a lot of problem in his state,” he said. “I think Jon Tester has to have a big price to pay in Montana.”
There’s no word yet who Trump will choose to replace Jackson, but he said he has a name in mind and his next nominee will have more political experience than Jackson.
With Trump’s unprecedented turnover of administration officials, one has to wonder why the backgrounds of these officials were not scrutinized more intently before they were hired. While Trump preaches of an extremely thorough vetting process for refugees and immigrants, it appears he has no problem letting inexperienced candidates waltz into high-level positions of his administration without even batting an eye.