WASHINGTON – President Trump’s pick for Veterans Affairs secretary once got so drunk at a Secret Service party that he wrecked a government vehicle, according to new allegations raised Wednesday about his fitness for office.
The accusation was part of new report released by the top Democrat on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee that summarized a slew of damaging allegations against Dr. Ronny Jackson based on interviews with 23 past and current colleagues.
The White House had stood by Trump’s doctor, and Jackson denied the report of a drunken car crash.
“I never wrecked a car,” Jackson said, according to the Associated Press.
The summary of whistleblower allegations describes a pattern of drunkenness, reckless dispensing of prescription drugs and a man with an unhinged temper who would go on screaming tantrums in the White House medical unit.
One person who worked with Jackson told the committee that he’s “the most unethical person I have ever worked with,” according to the report.
Jackson had a history of drunkenness on duty while serving as the top medical doctor for the president, including on overseas trips, the report said.
At least one time, Jackson was needed to perform his medical duties but couldn’t be reached because he was passed out drunk in his hotel room, according to the report.
The past and current employees also described Jackson as the “Candyman” who would provide White House staff with whatever drugs they wanted without paperwork. Jackson wrote himself scripts and kept private stocks of controlled substances, according to the report.
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He would try to account for pills and provide paper records when confronted about drug shortages. One time, there was “panic” in the White House Medical Unit over missing Percocet, a strong pain killer.
“It turned out Jackson had provided a large supply to a White House Military Office (WHMO) staffer,” the report said.
Jackson’s nomination hearing was postponed indefinitely after the whistleblowers came forward accusing him of being unfit for the job. The White House maintains that Jackson was properly vetted and none of these issues had been flagged during four background checks that spanned three presidents.
“Dr. Jackson’s record as a White House physician has been impeccable,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Wednesday. “In fact, because Dr. Jackson has worked within arm’s reach of three presidents, he has received more vetting than most nominees.”
Trump appeared to give Jackson an out Tuesday, saying he’d understand if his personal doctor didn’t want to go through with the “abuse” from politicians at his confirmation hearing.
“I really don’t think, personally, he should do it,” Trump said Tuesday. “But I would stand behind him. (It’s) totally his decision.”
The report was released by the lead Democrat on the veterans committee, Sen. Jon Tester of Montana.
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