White House Doctor Ronny Jackson, a Texan and Trump's Choice to Lead VA, Withdraws as Nominee

Updated at 7:46 a.m. with reaction from TrumpWhite House doctor Ronny Jackson withdrew from consideration as the next Veterans Affairs secretary, but he also called allegations of misconduct "false and fabricated."Jackson said he "did not expect to have to dignify baseless and anonymous attacks on my character and integrity," according to a written statement issued by the White House on Thursday morning. Jackson, a 50-year-old Navy rear admiral, has faced a series of accusations about his workplace conduct, including that he recklessly prescribed drugs and exhibited drunken behavior.Trump, appearing on Fox & Friends on Thursday morning, praised Jackson and blasted the allegations against him."He would have done a great job; he has a tremendous heart," Trump said on the morning news show. "These are false accusations. They are trying to destroy a man."Trump directed most of his vitriol at Wyoming Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat who said witnesses told him Jackson handed out prescriptions "like candy" and would roam the aisles during long airplane flights saying, "All right, who wants to go to sleep?" as he provided Ambien and other drugs, according to CNN."I think this is going to cause [Tester] a lot of problems in his state, a state that I won by, like, 20 points," Trump said on Fox & Friends. "They love me, and I love them."Trump chose Jackson to head the VA last month after abruptly firing Obama administration official David Shulkin.Jackson, who has worked as a White House physician since 2006, was a surprise choice. He faced immediate questions from Republican and Democratic lawmakers about whether he had the experience to manage the VA, which has 360,000 employees serving 9 million veterans.Democratic Senate staff put together accusations against Jackson from conversations with 23 current and former colleagues at the White House Medical Unit. Their summary includes accusations that Jackson crashed a government vehicle while he was intoxicated.Jackson was born in Levelland and graduated from Texas A&M University in 1991 with a degree in marine biology. He earned a medical degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch in 1995.The Associated Press and CNN contributed to this report  Continue reading...

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