VA Nominee Withdraws Amid Heavy Drinking, Reckless Prescribing Allegations

By Victoria Kim 04/27/18

Dr. Ronny Jackson denies the allegations that he drank while on duty and handed out medication to staff.

Dr. Ronny Jackson
Dr. Ronny Jackson Photo via YouTube

Ronny Jackson, President Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, stepped down from consideration on Thursday (April 26) amid a flurry of troubling claims related to drinking and inappropriate prescribing.

The White House physician, who has served in three administrations, gave Trump a glowing health assessment back in January. “He has incredibly good genes, and it’s just the way God made him,” said Jackson, who described Trump’s overall health as “excellent.”

But the one-star Navy admiral will not proceed as a nominee to head the VA, given allegations that he drank while on duty and handed out medication to staff.

According to the Washington Post, Jackson’s current and former colleagues, many of them active-duty military officers, had approached the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee with the allegations.

“This discussion came when we were notified by folks who work with Adm. Jackson, folks in the military,” said Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, Ranking Member of the committee.

The colleagues allege that Jackson was “repeatedly drunk while on duty” while traveling with the president, “where his main job was to take care of the most powerful man in the world,” said Sen. Tester. NPR notes that the allegations date back to the Obama administration.

The Washington Post stated that two former White House officials confirmed that Jackson drank on the job, “a violation of the White House Medical Unit’s policy.”

Jackson is also alleged to have had a “pattern” of giving out medication to staff with no patient history, the Post reports.

“Most of them are the ones that make you want to sleep and then make you wake up,” said Tester. “These are basically doled out, and by the way, we had 20 military folks and retired military folks tell us these stories, these were doled out on overseas trips where there are a lot of time zone changes.”

There is also the claim that Jackson “wrecked a government vehicle” while inebriated after a Secret Service party.

But aside from these troubling allegations, which Jackson vehemently denies, veteran advocates worry that the White House physician does not have the managerial experience to oversee a department of 360,000 employees who are responsible for the care of about 9 million veterans.

“The allegations against me are completely false and fabricated,” said Jackson 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.”

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr