Facing a slew of explosive allegations regarding his conduct as White House physician and mounting questions about his lack of qualifications to run the government’s second-largest agency, Dr. Ronny Jackson on Thursday withdrew his name from consideration as President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
“The allegations against me are completely false and fabricated,” Jackson said in a statement announcing his decision to withdraw, pointing to swirling claims of drunkenness on the job and excessive and inappropriate pill distribution.
While Jackson insisted that if the claims against him were true he “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,” many questioned whether the Trump administration properly vetted Jackson before nominating him to lead such a massive department.
As the New York Times notes, Trump chose Jackson to head up the VA out of “personal affinity,” and as such he “did not undergo the kind of policy vetting that usually accompanies a nomination to a cabinet post.”
The White House reportedly only began vetting Jackon after Trump had already named him to lead the VA.
Jackson is hardly the first Trump nominee to withdraw before even making it to the Senate confirmation hearing.
Trump’s “prior nominees for labor secretary, Army secretary, and Navy secretary all withdrew last year after questions arose during their vetting process,” the Washington Post observed.
Dr. Ronny Jackson is at least the 24th unsuccessful nominee to a Senate confirmable job under President Trump.
— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) April 26, 2018
“Don’t blame anyone but the Trump administration and their complete lack of professional vetting and experienced personnel. This is on Trump,” argued Jon Wolfsthal, senior adviser to the anti-nuclear weapons group Global Zero.