Trump's Veterans Affairs nominee withdraws from consideration

In this April 16, 2018, photo, U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, M.D., sits before their meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

White House doctor Ronny Jackson is withdrawing from consideration as Veterans Affairs secretary. Jackson says "false allegations" against him have become a distraction.

The White House sent out a statement from Jackson Thursday morning. He says he "did not expect to have to dignify baseless and anonymous attacks on my character and integrity."

Jackson has faced a series of accusations about his workplace conduct, including that recklessly prescribed drugs and exhibited drunken behavior.

Trump chose Jackson to head the VA last month after abruptly firing Obama administration official David Shulkin.

Jackson was a surprise choice who has worked as a White House physician since 2006. 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.

STATEMENT FROM REAR ADMIRAL RONNY JACKSON

One of the greatest honors in my life has been to serve this country as a physician both on the battlefield with United States Marines and as proud member of the United States Navy.

It has been my distinct honor and privilege to work at the White House and serve three Presidents.

Going into this process, I expected tough questions about how to best care for our veterans, but I did not expect to have to dignify baseless and anonymous attacks on my character and integrity.

The allegations against me are completely false and fabricated. If they had any merit, I would not have been selected, promoted and entrusted to serve in such a sensitive and important role as physician to three presidents over the past 12 years.

In my role as a doctor, I have tirelessly worked to provide excellent care for all my patients. In doing so, I have always adhered to the highest ethical standards.

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.

While I will forever be grateful for the trust and confidence President Trump has placed in me by giving me this opportunity, I am regretfully withdrawing my nomination to be Secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

I am proud of my service to the country and will always be committed to the brave veterans who volunteer to defend our freedoms.


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