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White House doctor Ronny Jackson withdraws as VA secretary nominee

Ronny Jackson (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
April 26, 2018

White House doctor and Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson has withdrawn his nomination to serve as Secretary for Veterans Affairs.

In a statement, Jackson 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.”

“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,” he added.

The nomination became embroiled in controversy leading up to his Senate confirmation that was eventually postponed this week.

Despite Presidents Obama and Trump’s praise of their experience with Jackson, rumors turned into unverified claims of workplace misconduct such as having drinks on the job and overprescribing sleeping pills to patients, which created an untenable situation for Jackson.

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The White House on Wednesday continued defending embattled Veterans Affairs Secretary nominee Ronny Jackson, saying multiple background checks have turned up no red flags. And, for the first time, a senior official said an internal review could happen as his nomination appeared stalled.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had told reporters Jackson had undergone four federal background checks since becoming a White House doctor.

One of those was conducted by the FBI, and none of the investigations produced any information that caused the Obama or Trump administrations to question Jackson’s ability to care for Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, as well as their families and staffs.

Specifically, Sanders told reporters that none of those background investigations produced evidence that Jackson was handing out prescriptions willy-nilly or over-serving himself with alcoholic beverages during working hours.

At first, Sanders gave reporters no indication the President had ordered an internal review of allegations Jackson faced. But when asked a few minutes later, she became the first senior White House official to signal an internal probe could take place.