President Trump said Friday it was a “disgrace” that Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson’s nomination to lead the Veterans Affairs Department was sunk by Democratic senators’ allegations of misbehavior.
Mr. Trump particularly singled out Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, who released a list of stunning accusations against the president’s physician, including that he overprescribed sleeping pills and crashed a government car while drunk.
“I don’t think that state is going to put up with it. These are false accusations about a good man,” Mr. Trump said, presumably referring to Mr. Tester’s re-election race this year.
Mr. Trump seems to have taken the sinking of his nominee personally, and GOP operatives said Mr. Tester may have “poked the bear,” and should be prepared to be a particular target for the president in the election. Mr. Trump easily won Montana in 2016.
Dr. Jackson said this week he was withdrawing from consideration to be the VA secretary after the allegations surfaced.
Mr. Trump called him “an American hero,” discounted the allegations, and said his evaluation of the White House Medical Office chief is bipartisan.
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“You have President Obama giving him an A-plus report. You had President Bush giving him a A-plus report. You have President Trump giving him an A-plus report,” the president said.
He also tied the accusations against Dr. Jackson to the ongoing probes into the 2016 campaign, which he called the “Russian collusion hoax.”
“You’re an American hero because you’ve exposed the system for some horrible things,” Mr. Trump said he told Dr. Jackson.
One of the allegations was that the Secret Service had to intervene to stop an outburst from Dr. Jackson. The service, though, says it has no record of such an incident — and went further, praising the doctor for his role in keeping Secret Service personnel healthy.