The allegations against Dr. Ronny Jackson are coming into very sharp focus.
A barnburner of a statement released Wednesday from Sen. Jon Tester, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, cites former Jackson colleagues describing a person who appears to be a prescription drug user — Jackson wrote himself prescriptions and kept a stash of “controlled substances” — with a drinking problem and a temper.
Jackson, Donald Trump’s nominee to head the massive Department of Veterans Affairs, was known as “the candyman” by White House staff, because he would give out whatever drugs people asked for without a prescription, according to the colleagues' statements.
The longtime White House physician also crashed a government car when he was drunk, caused a panic in the White House medical unit offices after a bunch of opioids went unaccounted for (he gave them to a staffer), and was described by a colleague as “the most unethical person I have ever worked with.”
His confirmation hearing was originally scheduled for Wednesday but was postponed amid the swirling allegations.
He’s reportedly moving forward with his nomination.
And the White House is digging in its heels to support Jackson, a White House physician since 2006. “None of those things have come up in the four separate background investigations that have taken place,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at a press conference earlier Wednesday, referring to allegations reported earlier in the day. “There’s been no area of concern that was raised for Dr. Jackson specifically.”
But the allegations are piling up. The information from Tester's report was made public just hours after CNN reported that Jackson had gotten drunk during an overseas trip while he was serving under then-president Barack Obama and banged on a female staffer’s door, loudly and repeatedly, in the middle of the night.
He was making such a racket that the Secret Service stepped in. They were apparently concerned that he would wake Obama up, CNN reported. Jackson, as the Physician to the President, would have been on call for the entirety of an overseas trip.
Tester’s letter also alleges that Jackson would get drunk while on the job — the job being to care for the president in the event of a medical emergency. At least once, the letter says, Jackson couldn’t be reached when he was needed because he was “passed out drunk in his hotel room.”
President Trump has named Jackson to head the VA after former Secretary David Shulkin left in March after just a year in the role, amid scandals over misuse of funds. The agency is the second largest in the federal government with more than 350,000 employees.