White House stands by VA nominee Jackson

Claims of Overprescription and Hostile Work Environment Delay VA Nominee

A watchdog report ordered in 2012 by Dr. Ronny Jackson - President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs - found that he and a rival physician exhibited "unprofessional behaviors" as they engaged in a power struggle over the White House medical unit.

"I assume the president liked the idea of him being at the VA, and his staff has learned over one bad appointment, one unqualified, one incompetent, one flawed appointment after another that there's no standing in the way", said Ohio Democratic Sen. "I wouldn't do it".

President Trump says he still supports his White House physician, but left the door open for Jackson to withdraw his nomination.

Senator Jon Tester (D-Montana) told CCN's Anderson Cooper that about 20 military sources have told the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee that Dr Jackson handed out prescription drugs such as Ambien and Provigil like candy on long Air Force One flights. Senate aides have said Jackson's testimony at the hearing would be crucial to showing them whether he was up to the job of running the agency. National news outlets, including the New York Times, have reported there are claims that Jackson allowed a hostile work environment.

The White House also is assessing whether questions that have been raised about Jackson have validity, officials said.

We have no idea what else will emerge in the coming days about Dr. Jackson, but if he withdraws, then perhaps the Trump White House will try to choose someone better armed and prepared to battle the forces that want to preserve a status quo that ill-serves veterans. "He has improved unit morale, received glowing reviews and promotions under Republican and Democrat presidents", read a statement from a White House official, who declined to be named.

The White House's first choice for Department of Labor secretary, Andy Puzder, had to withdraw his nomination a year ago after reports of domestic abuse allegations and employment of an undocumented worker surfaced. But if this is accurate, why did President Obama promote him? The report found that the conflict between them had become so bitter that workers described the dynamic as "being caught between parents going through a bitter divorce".

Actually, the Ronny Jackson mess is entirely Trump's fault.

Jackson, who is President Trump's pick to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, has recently been under fire for serious allegations involving drinking on the job and over-prescribing medication.

Unless Jackson decides he's had enough on his own.

Trump said if he was Jackson making the decision, he would step aside.

Trump was speaking as concerns mount over Jackson's nomination. But I told him, I said you know what, Doc? You people are getting record ratings because of it, so congratulations. "I said what do you need it for?"

"I don't want to put a man. who's not a political person. through a process like this".

"Some of the exact words that were used by the folks who we talked to were: abusive toward staff, very explosive personality, belittles the folks underneath him - staff that he oversaw, screamed toward staff, basically creating an environment where the staff felt that they needed to walk on eggshells when they were around him", Tester told NPR.

Some of the tension stemmed from Trump's abrupt dismissal of his predecessor, David Shulkin, and Shulkin's public pushback against forces in the administration that he said were pushing him out.

Jackson himself signaled he was intent on remaining the nominee, telling reporters on Capitol Hill that "I look forward to rescheduling the hearing and answering everyone's questions".

"I can answer the questions".

Well, the first thing we should say is that a lot of people say that this White House's problems started November 11, 2016, when President Trump fired Chris Christie, who was heading up the transition team.



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