In his weekly Saturday morning tweets before hitting the golf course, President Donald Trump once again defended embattled White House physician and former Secretary of Veterans Affairs nominee Ronny Jackson. Trump also called on Democratic Senator of Montana Jon Tester, who earlier this week released a damaging list of Jackson’s alleged on–the–job discretions, to resign.
“Allegations made by Senator Jon Tester against Admiral/Doctor Ron Jackson are proving false. The Secret Service is unable to confirm (in fact they deny) any of the phony Democrat charges which have absolutely devastated the wonderful Jackson family. Tester should resign,” Trump tweeted, before heading off for his 110th day at a Trump golf club while president.
“The...great people of Montana will not stand for this kind of slander when talking of a great human being. Admiral Jackson is the kind of man that those in Montana would most respect and admire, and now, for no reason whatsoever, his reputation has been shattered. Not fair, Tester!” he added.
Trump echoed pushback from the White House on Friday against one of many allegations against Jackson contained in Tester’s list. Specifically, White House officials said there was no evidence that Jackson had wrecked a government vehicle after getting drunk at a Secret Service send–off party, which Tester’s summary had claimed.
Deputy White House Press Secretary Raj Shah said on Friday that officials had searched government databases looking for reports of the type of accident attributed to Jackson and found none, The New York Times reported. “Mr. Shah said that the search revealed three episodes, none of which resembled the crash described by Mr. Tester,” the Times story said.
Jackson, 50, withdrew his nomination to lead the Veterans Affairs Department the day after Tester made the list of allegations public on Wednesday. In a statement following his withdrawal, Jackson called the claims against him “baseless and anonymous attacks on my character and integrity.”
“Unfortunately, because of how Washington works, these false allegations have become a distraction for the President and the important issue we must be addressing – how we give the best care to our nation’s heroes,” he added.
Nevertheless, even if the car accident story turns out to be false, several other problematic stories about Jackson seem to be supported by witnesses, according to the senator’s office.
As described by The New York Times, these include:
During an overseas trip by the Obama administration in 2015, Dr. Jackson went out drinking, came back to the delegation’s hotel and began banging on the door of a staff member’s hotel room, according to an account shared with Mr. Tester. The noise was so loud that members of the Secret Service came to see what was happening and warned Dr. Jackson to be quiet so he would not wake the president, who was staying nearby.
On another trip during Barack Obama’s presidency, White House staff members reached out to Dr. Jackson for medical reasons but found him passed out in his hotel room after a night of drinking, Tester aides said. The staff members took the medical supplies they were looking for without waking Dr. Jackson.
He also is accused of providing “a large supply” of the prescription opioid Percocet and the sedative Ambien to White House staff and others, including journalists. Former staffers also allegedly noted Jackson’s explosive temper and unpredictable behavior.
The doctor continues to deny the claims.
Update, Saturday, 3:23 p.m.: Trump sent another tweet on Saturday afternoon claiming the Secret Service told him that Sen. Tester’s statements are false. The president also compared criticisms of Jackson to “phony Russian Collusion.”
“Secret Service has just informed me that Senator Jon Tester’s statements on Admiral Jackson are not true. There were no such findings. A horrible thing that we in D.C. must live with, just like phony Russian Collusion. Tester should lose race in Montana. Very dishonest and sick!” Trump tweeted.