After days of disturbing misconduct allegations, and questions over his fitness to run a major federal agency, Dr. Ronny Jackson officially withdrew his nomination to serve as Donald Trump’s Secretary of Veterans Affairs on Thursday.
Jackson, a Navy rear admiral, had been serving as the White House physician before his nomination. His withdrawal followed a cascade of allegations that he’d previously been drunk while on duty, had improperly prescribed medications, and had created a hostile work environment while serving under President Barack Obama.
Even before those allegations, there had been questions over whether he was prepared to run a federal department with nearly 400,000 employees, since he had no experience in charge of such a large organization.
In his statement announcing his decision to withdraw his nomination, Jackson continued to deny the allegations against him, calling them “completely false and fabricated.”
“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,” he wrote.
On Tuesday, President Trump seemingly threw Jackson under the bus, telling reporters pointedly, “I don’t want to put a man through a process like this. It’s too ugly and too disgusting. [...] If I were him, I wouldn’t do it.”
Speaking just after the announcement on Fox & Friends, Trump echoed Jackson’s claims that the accusations were “false,” and lashed out at Jon Tester, the Senate Democrat who released the report which contained some of the most explosive allegations against Jackson.
Jackson was nominated to run the VA after President Trump fired his predecessor, David Shulkin. The White House has yet to name a new nominee for the position.