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Senate committee postpones hearing for VA Secretary nominee Ronny Jackson after misconduct claims

Rear Adm. Ronny L. Jackson (U.S. Navy/Released)
April 24, 2018

The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee has postponed a hearing to confirm Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson as Veterans Affairs secretary after whistleblowers recently told the panel about allegations of Jackson’s misconduct while working in the White House medical unit, multiple outlets reported Tuesday.

Allegations include “excessive drinking” and a “toxic” work environment under his leadership, CNN reported, citing two former White House medical staff members who said they worked in the White House medical unit.

The New York Times reported that Jackson oversaw a “hostile” work environment and also allowed the overprescribing of drugs.

President Trump on Tuesday acknowledged the claims and said that while he supports his nominee and stands by him, he doesn’t want to put him through the “ugly” process.

““I don’t want to put a man through a process like this,” Trump said when asked about Jackson during a press conference. “It’s too ugly, and it’s too disgusting.”

“I said to Dr. Jackson, what do you need it for,” Trump added, presumably referring to the “ugly” process.

Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Johnny Isakson, a Republican from Georgia, and the panel’s top Democrat, Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, announced Tuesday that Jackson’s confirmation hearing will be postponed after the improper conduct accusations have surfaced.

Jackson is President Donald Trump’s top pick to head the Department of Veterans Affairs, after he recently fired former Secretary David Shulkin.

It was initially unclear if the confirmation hearing would be postponed indefinitely or if a new date would be set. Jackson’s hearing had been slated for this week.

Isakson and Tester want to investigate accusations of misconduct before deciding if they carry enough weight to overturn the nomination, CNN reported.

The White House issued a statement:

“Admiral Jackson has been on the front lines of deadly combat and saved the lives of many others in service to this country. He’s served as the physician to three Presidents — Republican and Democrat — and been praised by them all. Admiral Jackson’s record of strong, decisive leadership is exactly what’s needed at the VA to ensure our veterans receive the benefits they deserve, ” Deputy White House Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement.

According to CNN, sources said that Jackson’s nomination could be in jeopardy following the allegations.

The Washington Post was first to report the postponement, and said anonymous officials said concerns have recently surfaced about Jackson’s management of the White House medical office.