Trump’s Veteran Affairs secretary pick considers withdrawing

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Washington, April 26 (IANS) Ronny L. Jackson, US President Donald Trump’s pick for the post of Veterans Affairs Secretary, has told his colleagues that he might remove his name from consideration, according to White House officials.

Jackson’s indecision was brewing even before Capitol Hill Democrats on Wednesday released new allegations of professional misconduct, including the claim that the presidential physician had wrecked a government vehicle after getting drunk at a Secret Service going-away party, the officials told the Washington Post.

The allegations were contained 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.

The document also described Jackson’s “pattern” of handing out medication with no patient history, writing himself prescriptions and contributing to a hostile work environment with “a constant fear of reprisal”.

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One White House official said Jackson was growing weary of a process that has been besieged from the start.

Veteran advocates and many lawmakers have expressed concerns about the former combat physician’s lack of management experience, and some have worried that he would capitulate to Trump’s goal of outsourcing more veteran services.

However, the Democrats’ document provided no evidence for the allegations, nor an explanation of the methodology of the investigation.

The White House did not immediately comment on the latest allegations, but earlier on Wednesday officials had intensified their defence of Jackson, the Washington Post reported.

“Jackson’s record as a White House physician has been impeccable,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters.

“In fact, because Jackson has worked within arms’ length of three presidents, he has received more vetting than most nominees.”

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Jackson was appointed as physician to the president by Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama in 2013, after having served on the White House medical team since 2006.

He replaced David Shulkin who was fired in March.

–IANS

ksk/bg

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