Trump gives VA pick way out amid claims he was 'repeatedly drunk' -

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Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Trump gives VA pick way out amid claims he was 'repeatedly drunk'

U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson faces claims that he oversaw a hostile work environment as the White House physician, over-prescribed medications and drank on the job.(ALEX BRANDON/AP)
President Trump offered Dr. Ronny Jackson an opportunity Tuesday to drop out of the running to become the next Veterans Affairs secretary, as embarrassing allegations spilled out about the Navy officer drunkenly harassing women and slipping pills to co-workers while serving as the chief White House physician.
Trump, in a circuitous answer to questions about Rear Adm. Jackson’s past, said if he were in the doctor’s shoes he would probably pull his own nomination.
“What does he need it for? To be abused by a bunch of politicians?” Trump said during a White House press conference.
The not-so-ringing endorsement came hours after lawmakers announced they are indefinitely delaying Jackson’s confirmation hearing.
The Senate Veterans Affairs committee made the decision following reports that Jackson allowed a hostile work environment as the White House physician, over-prescribed medications and was "repeatedly drunk" on the job.
Sen. Jon Tester, the committee's ranking Democrat, said more than 20 of Jackson's former coworkers raised concerns about his behavior.
The Montana lawmaker said, citing witnesses, Jackson often dolled out prescription uppers and downers on overseas flights during the Obama administration.
“He hands out prescriptions like candy, in fact, in the White House they call him the candy man,” Tester told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
Tester said the allegations mostly concerned Jackson's conduct while traveling overseas.
"We were told stories where he was repeatedly drunk while on duty where his main job was to take care of the most powerful man in the world," Tester said in another interview with NPR. "That's not acceptable."
During one particular late night binge, Jackson reportedly banged on the hotel room of a female colleague, according to CNN, citing four sources with knowledge of the claim. He was only stopped when it was feared he would wake up former President Barack Obama.
Tester also alleged Jackson "doled out" drugs to coworkers during such trips while creating a work environment plagued by fear.
"Some of the exact words that were used by folks we talked to: abusive towards staff, very explosive personality, belittles the folks underneath him," Tester said. "Basically creating an environment where the staff felt that they needed to walk on eggshells when around him."
An administration official told the Associated Press Jackson denied the allegations. The White House also released old handwritten notes from Trump and former President Barack Obama praising Jackson and recommending him for promotions.
The committee was supposed to hold Jackson’s hearing on Wednesday.
Trump said that it is “totally his decision” whether Jackson drops out. “I haven’t heard of the particular allegations but I will tell you, he is one of the finest people I have met,” Trump said.
Trump’s choice to replace fired VA head David Shulkin following an ethics scandal has raised eyebrows for his dearth of experience and nonexistent bureaucratic background. 

- ny news 

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