Published: Sat, April 28, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

White House Doctor Withdraws Name to be Next Veterans Chief

White House Doctor Withdraws Name to be Next Veterans Chief

When Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) chief Mike Pompeo's nomination for the post of US secretary of state faced a stiff resistance from the Democrats, US President Donald Trump faced yet another blow as another of his pick for an official post withdrew his nomination after several allegations came up against his conduct.

Trump said in the interview that he has a replacement candidate in mind, but as of Thursday there were no clear front-runners to lead an agency that operates a far-flung health, benefits and cemetery system.

The White House is defending Veterans Affairs nominee Ronny Jackson, insisting the longtime White House doctor has been more thoroughly vetted than most nominees.

"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", Jackson said of the charges.

Two former White House officials told the Post of instances when Jackson drank while traveling with the president - a violation of the White House Medical Unit's policy. The doctor, who is well-liked by and has personal relationships with many White House staffers, cited the withering pressure for withdrawing from consideration for the post, but maintained he had done nothing wrong.

The Democratic staff on the committee considering Jackson's nomination also claimed Jackson had doled out such a large supply of a prescription opioid that staffers panicked because they thought the drugs were missing.

The alleged drunk driving incident is said to have happened after a going-away party for a Secret Service agent.

Jackson vehemently denied the accusations, saying in a statement Thursday that the "false allegations" distracted from his nomination. They were the result of an internal White House review of allegations raised against Jackson during his brief confirmation process.

Miller, the former congressman who was described as the leading candidate, is a strong proponent of expanding private care for veterans, Miller led the push to create Choice in 2014.

During the presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly pledged to fix the VA by bringing accountability and expanding access to private doctors, criticizing the department as "the most corrupt". They began interviewing his colleagues, many of them active-duty military officers, whose assessment of the admiral alarmed not only Tester but also the committee's chairman, Sen.

Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson says White House physician Ronny Jackson "deserves a hearing and he's going to get it".

The colleagues and former colleagues also told congressional staffers that there were multiple incidents of drunkenness on duty and said Jackson got drunk at a Secret Service going-away party and wrecked a government vehicle.

Tester's office did not respond to a request for comment, though the second-term senator has defended the information's release.

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Jackson was back at work at the White House on Thursday. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., wrote on Twitter.

"Washington can be a very mean place", Trump said Friday at a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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