Trump's pick for Veterans Affairs chief withdraws

WASHINGTON • Admiral Ronny Jackson, President Donald Trump's embattled nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, withdrew from consideration yesterday amid mushrooming allegations of professional misconduct that raised questions about the White House vetting process.

"The allegations against me are completely false and fabricated," Adm Jackson said in a statement. "If they had any merit, I would not have been selected, promoted and entrusted to serve in such a sensitive and important role as physician to three presidents over the past 12 years."

Adm Jackson's nomination had become imperilled even before Capitol Hill Democrats on Wednesday released new allegations of professional misconduct.

The claims include that Adm Jackson, the White House physician, had wrecked a government vehicle after getting drunk at a Secret Service going-away party.

The allegations were contained in a two-page document described by the Democratic staff of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee as a summary of interviews with 23 of Adm Jackson's current and former colleagues.

The document also described Adm Jackson's "pattern" of handing out medication with no patient history, writing himself prescriptions and contributing to a hostile work environment with "a constant fear of reprisal".

Veteran advocates and many lawmakers also had expressed concerns about Adm Jackson's lack of management experience, and some have worried that he would capitulate to President Trump's goal of outsourcing more veteran services.

Adm Jackson, 50, told colleagues on Wednesday night that he had grown frustrated with the nomination process, according to two White House officials with knowledge of his deliberations.

Adm Jackson becomes the latest candidate President Trump has put forward to run a major agency only to topple during the confirmation process.

WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 27, 2018, with the headline 'Trump's pick for Veterans Affairs chief withdraws'. Print Edition | Subscribe