Dem cites allegations of VA nominee being drunk

White House stands by embattled nominee to lead Veterans Affairs

Trump's VA pick under fire

Ronny Jackson may have declared Donald Trump to be in fantastic health, but his own nomination is seriously ailing. "And that's a disservice to the nominee, as well as the American people".

Some GOP senators argue that Democrats are slow-walking even those Trump nominees with a solid track record, including Mike Pompeo, who got votes from 14 Democrats and one aligned independent past year during his confirmation for Central Intelligence Agency director. Now countless lives of veterans are in jeopardy, despite Trump's vow to "take care of our veterans like they've never been taken care of before". Kuhlman was the physician to Obama at the time, and had previously held the role occupied by Jackson: director of the White House medical unit.

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., the ranking Democrat on the committee, told NPR on Tuesday evening that more than 20 military employees brought the yet-to-be-substantiated allegations to senators.

"Most of them are the ones that make you want to sleep and then make you wake up", Tester said.

He said he would leave it up to the doctor whether to continue pursuing confirmation. In the morning, he was making the rounds on Capitol Hill, telling senators in private meetings that he had done nothing wrong and professing to reporters that he was looking forward to his hearing. Jerry Moran, a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. "These very serious questions about Admiral Jackson need answers, and the answers should have been ready well before the questions were raised publicly".

At the time of the report, Kuhlman was the physician to the president.

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Jackson is quoted saying he was willing to do what was necessary to straighten out the command, even if it "meant finding a new position in Navy Medicine".

Senators indeed should consider Dr. Jackson's abilities carefully. Kuhlman was the physician to President Barack Obama at the time.

A watchdog report reviewed Tuesday by The Associated Press appeared to corroborate some of those allegations. However, it did describe a lack of trust in the leadership and low morale among staff members.

Critics question whether Jackson is qualified to run an agency as big as the Veterans Affairs department and say the White House did not properly investigate him. "It's totally his decision", Trump said during a press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron.

"I told Admiral Jackson, 'What do you need this for?"

Sen. Johnny Isakson, the Republican chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, and Sen. "Secondly, you just saw a Democratic senator, Tester, coming out and saying basically, in the case of Jackson, that you were looking at a clean Federal Bureau of Investigation vetting".

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They also wrote a letter to President Trump, requesting all documents about Jackson's service as a White House physician, dating back to 2006. It seeks any communication between the Pentagon and the White House regarding "allegations or incidents" involving him.

Jackson was nominated to replace Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, whom Trump fired March 28.

Spokeswoman Amanda Maddox cites questions from lawmakers over allegations made about Jackson's past behavior. Jackson's confirmation hearing was scheduled for Wednesday, but it was delayed by the Senate Panel to review these claims. Shulkin is a former hospital executive who was a holdover from the Obama administration and who initially won Trump's favor for his efforts to overhaul the long-troubled system for veterans health care. But Jackson has faced numerous questions from Republican and Democratic lawmakers, as well as veterans groups, about whether he has the experience to manage the massive department of 360,000 employees serving 9 million veterans.

Spokesman Hogan Gidley is praising Jackson, who is Trump's White House doctor and a Navy rear admiral, for serving as a physician to three US presidents, both Republican and Democrat. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions, said Jackson denied the allegations.

Tester said in an interview with National Public Radio's All Things Considered that the allegations included that Jackson created a hostile work environment, overprescribed drugs and was "repeatedly drunk while on duty, while traveling" on presidential trips overseas.

"MediaBuzz" host Howard Kurtz weighs in on the backlash over conduct allegations with Ronny Jackson, Trump's pick to head the VA.

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"Vetting failures unfortunately are symptomatic of a broader failure [of the Trump administration] to properly review and scrutinize the records of its nominees", Blumenthal said.

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