UPDATE: Via Roll CallPresident Trump has given Jackson an escape hatch, declaring his support but added that the decision is ultimately with him as to whether he wants the top job at the VA. Trump also bashed the press for trying to take out Jackson’s nomination, adding that the process is a vicious one. The president already had a close call with CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s nomination to be secretary of state:
“I’ll always stand behind him,” the president said. “If I were him ... the fact is I wouldn’t do it. What does he need it for? To be abused by a bunch of politicians who ... aren’t thinking about the country?”
Trump said he asked Jackson, “What do you need it for?” and said it will be Jackson’s decision on whether his VA nomination will be withdrawn. He called reporters a “vicious group of people” who are out to take down Jackson.
“We’ll see what happens,” he said. “I don’t want to put a man through a process like this — it’s too ugly and disgusting.”
UPDATE II: White House says Jackson has no plans to withdrawing (via Politico):
A White House official confirmed that Trump met with Jackson in the Oval Office on Tuesday afternoon. The official described it as a “positive meeting“ and said the president was still standing behind Jackson. The official said Jackson had no current plans to withdraw.
The mixed signals — a pledge to defend Jackson and an Oval Office meeting with him, coupled with advice that he withdraw from consideration — came as Jackson appeared to dig in, traveling to Capitol Hill and saying he looked forward to the hearing, whenever it might be.
Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson became a source of intrigue and irritation for members of the liberal news media. He’s the personal physician of President Trump, but was also Obama’s doctor. Still, while the media was preparing to file stories on Trump being on the verge of death, having mental issues, or being all-in-all terrible health—Jackson said the president is just fine for the most part. The report drew heavy skepticism from the press pool. It was outrageous, with questions being hurled at Jackson asking him if Trump was a drug or sex addict. Jackson’s very non-devastating health report on Trump called into question as to whether he was a Trump fan boy himself; again, this guy was Obama’s doctor too.
Well, he’s now been tapped to helm Veterans Affairs after Trump fired now ex-Secretary David Shulkin. Yet, unlike CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s nomination to be secretary of state, there will be no zero hour saves here. Trump convinced Senate Republican holdout Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to switch his vote, which coupled with Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-SD), will allow Pompeo to cruise to confirmation. Actually, Pompeo was going to be confirmed as soon as Heitkamp crossed the aisle, but the vote on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was a different story. While a full Senate vote on Pompeo was going to happen regardless of what the committee vote was, it gets things off to a rocky start.
For Jackson, senators from both parties said Jackson would need time for proper vetting, hence why his confirmation hearings have been postponed. Apparently his lack of managerial experience, along with his favorable health report of Trump is what’s causing the review (via WaPo):
Senate lawmakers have postponed the confirmation hearing for Ronny L. Jackson, President Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, after top Republicans and Democrats raised concerns about his qualifications and oversight of the White House medical staff, White House and other administration officials were told Monday.
The development came just two days before Jackson, the White House physician, was scheduled to testify before the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and threw what was looking to be a difficult confirmation process into further jeopardy.
In addition to Jackson’s lack of management experience, the former combat surgeon had come under fire for his glowing appraisal of Trump’s health following his annual physical in January. Jackson said then that the president might live to the age of 200 with a healthier diet. In recent days, fresh concerns arose about Jackson’s management of the White House medical office, said the officials, who declined to provide details.
“I can tell you we’re vetting out Jackson,” said Sen. Jon Tester (Mont.), the committee’s ranking Democrat. “I can’t get into specifics, but we’re doing our job to make sure he’s fit for the job.”
Aides to committee Chairman Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) declined to comment.
Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), another committee member, said he had raised concerns about Jackson’s lack of management background to the White House and requested to speak with Chief of Staff John F. Kelly on the matter.
So, we have another nominee heading for the reef.
UPDATE: We have reports of a hostile work envirnment, excessive drinking, and improper distirbution of prescription drugs.
NEWS coming from @ZekeJMiller and Ken Thomas, who have viewed IG report on VA nominee Ronny Jackson. Report says that in power struggle with rival doctor, Jackson exhibited 'unprofessional behaviors'— Julie Pace (@jpaceDC) April 24, 2018
Whistleblowers who spoke to CNN say Jackson led a "hostile work environment" and engaged in excessive drinking. #RonnyJackson— Cortney O'Brien (@obrienc2) April 24, 2018
Just In: 2 sources confirm to @nancycordes and @edokeefe Sen Vet Affairs Comm is reviewing allegations against Ronny Jackson which include a hostile work environment, excessive drinking on the job and improperly dispensing meds.— Steve Dorsey (@steve_dorsey) April 24, 2018