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Trump Said That Ronny Jackson, His Nominee To Run Veterans Affairs, Should Drop Out

Reports on Tuesday accused Jackson of overprescribing drugs and drinking on the job. Trump said if he were him, he'd drop out because of partisan politics.

Last updated on April 24, 2018, at 10:23 p.m. ET

Posted on April 24, 2018, at 2:19 p.m. ET

Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

President Trump said Monday that if he were his nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, he would drop out.

Trump's nominee for the Veterans Affairs position, Dr. Ronny Jackson, who serves as the White House physician, is facing allegations of excessive drinking, overprescribing drugs, and leading a "toxic" work environment.

On Tuesday evening, CNN reported that Jackson became intoxicated during an overseas trip in 2015 and banged on the hotel room door of a female employee. The incident made the woman uncomfortable and was one of multiple drunken episodes involving Jackson on overseas trips, the network reported.

"If I were him — actually, in many ways I would love to be him — but the fact is I wouldn't do it. I wouldn't do it. What does he need it for?" Trump said, suggesting that Jackson drop out not because of the allegations, but because of partisan politics. "To be abused by a bunch of politicians that aren't thinking nicely about our country."

"I really don't think, personally, he should do it, but it's totally his decision," Trump said about Jackson continuing a nomination.

The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee has been looking into those allegations since last week and has delayed Jackson's confirmation hearing.

Read President's Trump comments on the nomination of Dr. Jackson:


QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. I have a question for President Macron, as well, but if I could to you, sir. First, your nominee to run the Veteran's Affairs Administration, Dr. Ronny Jackson, has run into some serious political headwinds on Capitol Hill.


With some serious allegations being leveled at him, I'm wondering what you know of those allegations, and do you intend to stand behind him?


TRUMP: Well, I haven't heard of the particular allegations. But I will tell you, he's one of the finest people that I have met. And I think speaking for Melania also, he's been the doctor for President Obama, I believe for President Bush, for me.


I've gotten to know him pretty well; he's a great doctor. And it was a suggestion — now, I know there's an experience problem, because lack of experience. But there's an experience problem — the Veteran's Administration is very important to me.


We've done a great job with it, as you know, with the Accountability Act and many other things. Now we're working on choice. It's going to happen. We're going to take great care of our veterans — that's a very, very important thing. We've done a great job.


But I told Admiral Jackson just a little while ago — I said, what do you need this for? This is a vicious group of people that malign, and they do — and I live through it, we all live through it. You people are getting record ratings because of it, so congratulations.


But I say, what do you need it for? He's an admiral, he's a great leader. And they question him about every little thing. As you know, with the success of what will hopefully soon be Secretary of State Pompeo, everybody was very surprised.


So now they say, who's next? Who's next? And this person, Admiral Jackson, Dr. Jackson, is a wonderful man.


I said to him, what do you need it for? And as far as experience is concerned, the Veteran's Administration, which is approximately 13 million people, is so big you could run the biggest hospital system in the world and it's small-time compared to the Veteran's Administration.


So nobody has the experience. What he is is a leader and a good man. But I told him, I said, you know what, Doc? You're too fine a person. His son's a top student at Annapolis. He is a high-quality person. I said, what do you need it for?


So he'll be — it's totally his decision, but he'll be making a decision. But they failed with Mike Pompeo, and that was a big, big hit because they thought they could stop him and embarrass. The Democrats have become obstructionists; that's all they're good at.


They're not good at anything else. They have bad ideas, they have bad politics. The one thing they do is obstruct. And that's why I'm waiting for — you would never believe this — I'm waiting for very good people like the ambassador to Germany.


Hasn't been approved yet, been in there for 11 or 12 months. We have Angela Merkel coming to the United States on Friday. We still don't have our ambassador approved. And at this rate, and many of the papers checked it out yesterday, and they actually said I was right.


But it would be nine years before these people were — we have hundreds of people in, waiting to be approved. And the Democrats are taking 30 hours per person; they're taking the maximum time. They are obstructionists. That's very bad for our country.


I said to Dr. Jackson, what do you need it for? So, we'll see what happens. I don't want to put a man through who is not a political person — I don't want to put a man through a process like this. It's too ugly and too disgusting. So, we'll see what happens. He'll make a decision.


QUESTION: Are you saying, Mr. President, that you will stand behind him?


TRUMP: Oh, I would definitely stand behind him. He's a fine man. I'll always stand behind him. I would let it be his choice, but here's a man who has just been an extraordinary person. His family, extraordinary success. Great doctor, great everything, and he has to listen to the abuse. If I were him — actually in many ways I'd love to be him. But the fact is I wouldn't do it. I wouldn't do it. What does he need it for? To be abused by a bunch of politicians that aren't thinking nicely about our country? I really don't think personally he should do it, but it's totally his — I would stand behind him — totally his decision.

CORRECTION

Ronny Jackson's name was misspelled in an earlier version of this post.



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