Yesterday reports emerged that Dr. Ronny Jackson, Trump’s pick for the secretary of Veterans Affairs, would not be returning to serve as the President’s personal physician.
Dr. Jackson, a Navy Rear Admiral, had been criticized by the press as dangerously unfit for the office of VA secretary. Claims were raised that Jackson had fostered a hostile work environment and been drunk on the job while serving as the top doctor in the White House.
Senator John Tester, D-Montana, was particularly vocal in his criticism of Jackson, relaying accounts from committee staffers who alleged that Dr. Jackson “was repeatedly drunk while on duty where his main job was to take care of the most powerful man in the world.”
The most interesting thing about this account is not the Democrats’ suddenly intense interest in President Trump’s personal health. It’s that Dr. Jackson is being forced to step away from his nomination even though the White House has released records that it says disprove the allegations against him.
Even the Secret Service has chimed in on the issue: Senator Tester had released claims that Dr. Jackson was involved in a drunk-driving incident. According to Tester, Admiral Jackson drunkenly wrapped his car around a tree, while on duty.
This allegation would be huge -if it could be proven. But Secret Service representatives recently stated that they had found no evidence of any alleged incident involving drunk driving by Dr. Jackson.
On Saturday, Trump came forward on Twitter to defend his pick for the VA secretary. The President called on Senator Tester to resign, saying that the allegations against Jackson were “not true.” Trump called the stories a “horrible thing that we in D.C. must live with”. He further compared the stories to the “phony” allegations of his campaign’s collusion with Russia.
President Trump also called Senator Tester’s comments “Very dishonest and sick!” Tester is up for re-election in November, in a state Trump won by a mile in 2016. It remains to be seen whether or not his attacks on Trump’s personal doctor will have a negative impact on him during his campaign.
However, given the President’s comments on the Ronny Jackson issue, it would not be surprising to see The Donald campaigning against Tester come midterm season.
But all that will be too little too late for poor Rear Admiral Ronny. White House sources have indicated that Sean Conley, another Navy doctor who took over for Jackson as the president’s physician last month, will continue in the role. And last Thursday, Jackson withdrew himself from consideration for the post at the VA.
What will become of Trump’s former doctor? And who will step in to fill the vacancy at the VA? The department of Veterans Affairs is awaiting its fourth secretary in four years; hopefully the President will be able to find another suitable candidate soon.
Preferably, Trump will pick someone who can weather the brutal attention that comes with stepping into the D.C. swamp. The gators are always circling, looking for their next victim. Trump has had to learn that lesson, and now it seems that anyone he nominates for anything must learn it too.