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5 things to know about VA nominee Ronny Jackson

Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson (White House/YouTube)

President Trump announced Wednesday he’s nominating Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson to replace David Shulkin as head of Veterans Affairs. Let’s take a quick look at Jackson’s background.

He’s the White House doctor

Jackson, a Naval officer, has served as White House physician during the past three administrations of presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump. He recently gave a glowing report about the president’s health after his annual physical.

He’s a military man and Trump likes that

In announcing the change Wednesday, Trump said in a statement Jackson “is highly trained and qualified and as a service member himself, he has seen firsthand the tremendous sacrifice our veterans make and has a deep appreciation for the debt our great country owes them.”

Jackson went into active naval service in 1995 after getting his medical degree from University of Texas Medical Branch. He went on to become the honor graduate of the Navy’s Undersea Medical Officer Program in Groton, Conn., before getting more credentials in emergency medicine. During Operation Iraqi Freedom he served as a emergency doctor specializing in resuscitating troops in Iraq.

Jackson was already up for a promotion

The Pentagon announced Friday that Jackson had been nominated to be promoted to rear admiral (upper half) from rear admiral (lower half). The nomination, which Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis announced, would give Jackson his second star and a bigger paycheck.

Both Democrats, Republicans respect him

Jackson has served both Democrat and Republican administrations and draws praise from each side.

When Jackson got some criticism for appearing a bit too enthusiastic about Trump’s physical condition after his exam in January, Dan Pfeiffer, a former senior adviser to Obama, jumped to his defense via Twitter:

On Wednesday, Alyssas Mastromonaco, former Obama deputy chief of staff, tweeted “there is no one better than ronny.”

He told Trump the same thing your doctor says to you

Jackson told reporters at a briefing after the president’s physical the same thing your doctor probably says to you. He said the 71-year-old, 239-pound president could use more exercise and a better diet that is lower in fat and carbohydrates. Trump, who is known to eat junk food and to avoid exercise beyond golf, is overweight and has set a “reasonable goal” of losing 10 to 15 pounds in the coming year and developing a regular fitness routine, Jackson said.

“He’s more enthusiastic about the diet part than the exercise part,” Jackson added.

Contributing: David Jackson and Jayne O’Donnell. 


© 2018 USA Today

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