Trump’s pick withdraws as Veteran Affairs secretary nominee

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Washington, April 26 (IANS) Ronny L. Jackson, US President Donald Trump’s pick for the post of Veterans Affairs Secretary, withdrew from consideration on Thursday amid allegations of professional misconduct.

“The allegations against me are completely false and fabricated,” Jackson, the 50-year-old White House physician, said 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,” he was cited as saying by the Washington Post.

Jackson said he was motivated to withdraw from consideration because the allegations against him “have become a distraction” for Trump and his agenda.

“Unfortunately, because of how Washington works, these false allegations have become a distraction for this President and the important issue we must be addressing — how we give the best care to our nation’s heroes,” Jackson said.

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Speaking on “Fox & Friends”, Trump said Jackson’s withdrawal was not unexpected. “I even told him a day or two ago I saw where this was going,” the President said.

The allegations were detailed in a two-page document described by the Democratic staff of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee as a summary of interviews with 23 of Jackson’s current and former colleagues.

According to the summary of the allegations, Jackson was allegedly “abusive” to his colleagues, loosely handled prescription pain medications and was periodically intoxicated, even once wrecking a government vehicle while drunk.

Trump blamed Democrats for derailing the nomination of “an incredible man”.

“These are all false accusations. They’re trying to destroy a man. … There’s no proof of this. He’s got a beautiful record,” he said.

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The President said that his opponents were eager to take down Jackson because another of his nominees, Mike Pompeo, seemed on track to survive a difficult nomination process for Secretary of State.

Jackson told his colleagues on Wednesday night that he had grown frustrated with the nomination process, according to two White House officials with knowledge of his deliberations.

He was a surprise nominee to succeed David Shulkin, an Obama-era holdover once lauded by Trump, who was fired on March 28.

–IANS

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