Despite rising allegations and furor from the opposition, the controversial pick to lead up the Veterans Affairs agency is not backing down from his confirmation process. In recent days, Dr. Ronny Jackson has been the focus of allegations of misconduct in relation to excess drinking and leading a toxic work environment. President Donald Trump has repeatedly told Jackson that he understands if he decides to take himself out of contention for the position, yet Jackson seems to be persisting. Trump and Jackson met on Tuesday in the Oval Office and Trump assured Jackson that the decision of whether or not to continue down the road to confirmation was solely his to make.
Because of the troubling allegations, the nomination hearing for the former White House doctor was postponed indefinitely. Trump has referred to the attacks of Jackson as “vicious” and the White House has already begun trumpeting that this outrage is merely the result of a smear campaign against Jackson and his potential appointment. Though the White House continues to defend Jackson through the turmoil, Trump did concede that Jackson is light on experience.
Senate Veterans Affairs Committee members are now in the process of sifting through reports of misconduct by Jackson. Committee member Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) said that the committee has interviewed at least 20 former and current members of the military and former colleagues of Jackson, in an attempt to corraborate all of the stories. The most detailed story stems from a 2015 incident in which Jackson drunkenly banged on a woman’s hotel room door while on an overseas government work trip. Skepticism of Jackson is coming in from both sides of the aisle, with some Republican officials already believing that the nomination is doomed and that Jackson should remove himself from contention to save face both for the Trump administration and also for himself.