Ronny Jackson Doesn’t Back Down: ‘Looking Forward’ To ‘Answering All The Questions’

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson isn’t afraid his secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) nomination was thrown into limbo Tuesday morning, claiming he is ready to answer “any and all questions” about his past.

Democrat Jon Tester of Montana is reviewing accusations that Jackson ran a “hostile” work environment, would excessively drink on the job, and improperly dispense medication, Senate Veterans Affairs Committee ranking member Tester announced Tuesday. Jackson was scheduled to appear before the committee Wednesday.

“No, I’m looking forward to the hearing; I was looking forward to doing it tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to getting it rescheduled and answering all the questions,” Jackson told reporters when he arrived at the Capitol Tuesday afternoon.

The committee is working on “the vetting,” but Jackson’s nomination is still viable, Tester told reporters Tuesday.

Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Johnny Isakson told reporters “we’ll see” when asked whether Jackson is still a viable candidate.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut wasn’t sure how quickly the investigation into the allegations will go, but the allegations are serious and need to be dealt with immediately, Democratic committee member Blumenthal told The Daily Caller News Foundation Tuesday. The White House vetting in this instance, as well as “other” instances, was “abysmal, neglectful” and “careless,” the senator told reporters.

Republicans on the committee appeared somewhat split, announcing concern with the allegations but still wanting more information before making a final ruling.

GOP Sen. Thom Thillis needs to look into the allegations; but if they are true, it would represent a vetting “mess” for the White House, Thillis told reporters. Remember the allegations are completely “unsubstantiated,” Dan Sullivan of Arkansas, another one of the Republican committee members, told reporters but was unable to comment as to what degree the White House vetted Jackson before announcing his nomination.

Republicans were already voicing concerns about Jackson’s level of experience leading up to Wednesday’s hearing. While the White House gives Jackson a stellar grade, concern among congressional Republicans — let alone Democrats — could prove troubling.

“We are going to wait and see what the administration and Chairman Isakson recommend,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters.

President Donald Trump’s administration is having, to say the least, an incredibly difficult time getting seemingly well-qualified nominees through the Senate, as was evident this week with CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s secretary of state nomination.

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