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Home / US / President Trump leaves it to VA nominee Ronny Jackson to break off: the two-way: NPR

President Trump leaves it to VA nominee Ronny Jackson to break off: the two-way: NPR

Admiral Ronny Jackson, President Trump's election secretary to the Department of Veterans Affairs, leaves Tuesday a Senate building on Capitol Hill.

J. Scott Apple White / AP

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J. Scott Apple White / AP

Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, President Trump's secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, is leaving a Senate office building on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

J. Scott Apple White / AP

Updated at 17:20 ET

Behind Admiral Ronny Jackson, President Trump's election to head the Department of Veterans Affairs, was accused of creating a hostile working environment while serving as a White House doctor in two administrations he was on duty and unlawfully prescribed medications, according to Montana Sen. Jon Tester.

Tester, the senior Democrat Senate veterans' affairs committee, detailed the allegations on Tuesday in an interview with NPR's All Things Considered .

"All I can tell you is that we did not initiate this discussion," Tester told host Ari Shapiro. "This discussion came when we were notified by people working with Adm. Jackson, people in the military."

Tester said that more than 20 military officials before a hearing announced the unsubstantiated allegations against senators nomination to lead the VA. This hearing was postponed indefinitely to allow further investigation by the Committee.

The allegations largely surround Jackson's behavior during overseas trips. "We were told stories in which he was always drunk during the service, where his main task was to look after the most powerful man in the world," said Tester and noted that the allegations go back to the Obama administration. "That's not acceptable."

Sen. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican on the Veterans' Affairs Committee, said Jackson never denies having a drink while on duty.

Jackson is said to have distributed drugs to employees who have been traveling several times.

"Most of them are the ones who bring you to sleep and then wake you up," Tester said. "These are basically spruced up, and by the way, we had 20 military and retired military tell us these stories, these were distributed on trips abroad, where there are many time zone changes."

The detailed charges came hours after Trump's doubts about whether Really Adm. Ronny Jackson was to remain the candidate for Secretary of Veterans Affairs, but said that the decision was to Jackson.

"It's his decision," Trump said Tuesday during a bilateral press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron

Trump said if he were Jackson, "I would not do it." I would not do it. "Why does he need it "To be abused by a group of politicians who do not think well about our country? I really do not think he should do it personally, but it is his very – I would stand behind him – his decision."

The comments come as Jackson's nomination in "serious allegations" appears in danger. (19659009) The allegations are unfounded so far, but they led the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs to postpone a hearing on the nomination until further investigation.

Trump called Jackson "one of the finest people I've met." (In fact, Trump once remarked that "I actually like him in many ways.")

He said several times that he had asked Jackson on Tuesday, "What do you need this for?"

But Trump left the next step to Jackson. "It is entirely his decision," said the President, blaming the democratic obstruction and control.

Jackson showed no sign of retreat on Tuesday. He was on Capitol Hill and made the rounds with the major senators of the committee. Reporters caught up with him on the way to Moran's office.

"I was looking forward to the hearing tomorrow," Jackson said per video by MSNBC. "A bit disappointed that it was postponed, but I'm looking forward to it being postponed and answering all the questions."

Asked if he "categorically denied" the allegations against him, he said: "I look forward to the hearings so that we can sit down and I can explain everything to all and answer all questions from the senators." [19659009] Veteran affairs committee chairman Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., And testers sent a letter to Trump on Tuesday containing additional documentation regarding Jackson's presidential term and his role as head of the White House medical team.

"We take our constitutional duty seriously to thoroughly and carefully examine every candidate sent to the Senate for ratification," the couple wrote. "We will continue to investigate these serious allegations and have requested additional information from the White House so that the committee can conduct a full review."

The letter requested information about rumors about Pentagon inspector general reports.

Jackson himself, however, said there was no Inspector General report on the allegations. "No, it was not," he said, before asking questions as to whether he would retire.

According to two senators from the committee, several people, including members of the military, approached the Veterans Affairs Senate Committee late last week to appeal Jackson for improper workplace behavior.

"The allegations are from people who are in the military, or earlier in the military, former militia who have volunteered, some of whom I address to targeted committee members, others who engage or give other names that committee members could call ready to talk, "said Senator Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who said that he had not spoken directly with someone who had contacted but had the committee staff and that these talks started last week.

Brown referred to those who spoke before the committee as "people who work with him, many who like him, it's not about liking him, it's a question of what he's done in the past

He declined to comment on the content of the allegations, but added: "I will say, it is clear that the President's people did not make many of these appeals."

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., also said that the allegations However, none of the reports had been confirmed and the committee did not receive any supplementary or confirmatory documents, such as Inspector General Reports.

"I. I will not talk about who the people were or their credibility. The credibility of the questions must be tested against the facts, "he said." There were complaints to the committee. I will not talk about the specific sources or the specific allegations. We Need Facts. "

" Failures are unfortunately symptomatic of a broader failure [of the Trump administration] to properly validate and scrutinize the records of its nominees, "Blumenthal said." The viability of his nomination depends on the ability of the administration to provide answers To answer questions quickly, thoroughly, accurately, and honestly. "

Jackson currently serves as a White House doctor, casting doubt on Trump's health and fitness in January, describing the President's state of health with emphatically glowing words is a former combat surgeon who served with naval bomb disposal units and instructed underwater salvage teams.

The White House defended Jackson on Tuesday

"Admiral Jackson was at the forefront of the deadly struggle and saved the lives of many others serving this country, "said Hogan Gidley, deputy press secretary of the White Ha He served as a doctor for three Presidential – Republicans and Democrats – and was praised by all. Admiral Jackson's record of a strong, determined leadership is exactly what the VA needs to make sure our veterans receive the services they deserve. "

Trump selected Jackson to replace David Shulkin, who served as VA secretary

allegations about Jackson appending to Senators in both parties Fears that Jackson is not qualified to lead the Veterans Agency have been questioned by several senators as to whether Jackson has the management experience of running a department with 360,000 employees responsible for caring for about 9 million veterans.

Virginia Democrat Tim Kaine told reporters Monday that the veteran agency has a strong manage r needs to help the agency recover from years of scandal and mismanagement.

"As a doctor, I do not think people have questions," Kaine said. "But I know the size and scope of the challenges in the VA and the size of the operation and what we need to do, I think, is a lot of skepticism."

Jackson is currently overseeing a staff of several dozen in the White House Medical Unit. While Jackson's primary responsibility for providing medical care to the president, he also offers White House employees and occasional journalists treatments – something he reminded Reporters of during a January meeting.

"If anything happens to you in the next few months and you should get sick at some point, I'll probably be the one called to take care of you," he said. "So, if you ask your questions, please remember that."

Jackson is also a blank slate on one of VA's key policy questions: how big a role the private sector should play in veterans care. Major Veterans service organizations are worried he might monitor an advance towards privatization.

In a speech floor Tuesday morning, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Jackson's troubled nomination was indicative of larger issues ahead of Trump administration candidates.

"The president nominates candidates without an appropriate review, and our job is to examine and we will not get started, especially if this government brings the qualifications and problems that each of them has so poorly looks candidate," said Schumer.

The news of the shift came a day after the nomination of CIA Director Mike Pompeo, another Trump Guardian who had appeared in danger, an important Senate committee on its way to becoming Secretary of State.

NPR's Scott Horsley and Domenico Montanaro shared this story.

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