With so many scandals during the Trump era, the saga of Dr. Ronny Jackson is often overlooked as a minor sideshow in the overall circus of lies, corruption, and incompetence of the prior administration.
Dr. Jackson, you may recall, was the physician to then-President Trump who made hardly credible assessments of the geriatric and corpulent orange menace’s health, misstating Trump’s height and weight to minimize the perception of his obesity, something that could clearly be ascertained without the smokescreen of a doctor’s report by one’s own eyes.
As a Rear Admiral in the Navy, Jackson was controversially nominated to become Secretary of Veterans Affairs by Trump in March of 2018.
Jackson withdrew his name from nomination after current and former employees of the White House medical staff accused him of creating a hostile work environment, excessively drinking on the job, and improperly dispensing medication during his confirmation hearings.
Senator Jon Tester told CNN that Jackson was known as “the candy man” inside the White House, according to around 20 people who brought these concerns to the Veterans’ Affairs Senate Committee. He would allegedly hand out Ambien, Provigil, and other prescription drugs “like they were candy”.
After withdrawing his nomination and being replaced as Trump’s personal physician, Jackson retired from the Navy and eventually decided to run for Congress as a Republican in his home district in Texas’s 13th congressional district, a seat that he handily won in 2020 based on his close relationship with and support for Donald Trump.
Now happily ensconced in Congress, Representative Jackson (R-TX) is now facing renewed scrutiny as his past catches up with him in the form of a report from the Pentagon’s Inspector General detailing the results of a years-long investigation conducted about the accusations that had been raised at his Veteran’s Affairs confirmation hearings.
The blistering new report concludes that Dr. Jackson “made ‘sexual and denigrating’ comments about a female subordinate, violated the policy for drinking alcohol while on a presidential trip, and took prescription-strength sleeping medication that prompted concerns from his colleagues about his ability to provide proper care,” according to a CNN account.
“After interviewing 78 witnesses and reviewing a host of White House documents, investigators concluded that Jackson, who achieved the rank of Rear Admiral, failed to treat his subordinates with dignity and respect, engaged in inappropriate conduct involving the use of alcohol during two incidents and used sleeping medication during an overseas trip that raised concerns about his ability to provide medical care to the President and other top officials, according to the report,” CNN said.“The report also notes that the investigation into Jackson “was limited in scope and unproductive” as White House counsel under Trump insisted on being present at all interviews of current White House Medical Unit employees, which had a “potential chilling effect” on the probe.”“We determined that the potential chilling effect of their presence would prevent us from receiving accurate testimony,” the report states, adding that fieldwork stopped for about 10 months, between October 11, 2018, and August 22, 2019, as the Department of Defense inspector general and White House counsel determined whether the White House would invoke executive privilege, which they ultimately did not do,” CNN continued.
“Many of these witnesses described RDML Jackson’s behavior with words and phrases such as ‘meltdowns,’ ‘yells’ for no reason,’ ‘rages,’ ‘tantrums,’ ‘lashes out,’ and ‘aggressive.’ These witnesses also described RDML Jackson’s leadership style with terms such as ‘tyrant,’ ‘dictator,’ ‘control freak,’ ‘hallmarks of fear and intimidation,’ ‘crappy manager,’ and ‘not a leader at all,'” the report adds.
“Witness 1, a medical subordinate, told us that during the Asia trip, before arriving in Manila, RDML Jackson told him a female medical subordinate (Manila Witness 2), who was also on the trip, had ‘great t**s,’ and ‘what a nice a**,’ and that RDML Jackson also told Manila Witness 1 that he would ‘like to see more of her tattoos,'” the report says.
“Democrats are using this report to repeat and rehash untrue attacks on my integrity.”“I’m proud of the work environment I fostered under three different Presidents of both parties; I take my professional responsibility with respect to prescription drug practices seriously; and I flat out reject any allegation that I consumed alcohol while on duty,” Jackson said.“My entire professional life has been defined by duty and service. I’ve honorably served my country in the U.S. Navy, served patients who trusted me with their care, served three Presidents in the White House, and now I serve the people of Texas’ 13th District in Congress. I have not and will not ever conduct myself in a way that undermines the sincerity with which I take my oath to my country or my constituents,” he added.
Original reporting by Manu Raju, Barbara Starr, Zachary Cohen, and Oren Liebermann at CNN.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.