The Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating President Donald Trump’s former personal physician, who was accused of unprofessional behavior while being considered to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Bruce Anderson, a spokesman for the Defense Department’s inspector general, said in a statement Monday the watchdog has “initiated an investigation into allegations” against Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, who was forced to withdraw his nomination to be the secretary of Veterans Affairs in April amid allegations of drinking on the job and improperly prescribing medication.
Trump tapped Jackson to replace former VA Secretary David Shulkin in a move that surprised many and before the White House had a chance to do the typical vetting for a Cabinet post.
During the confirmation process, Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) brought to light several allegations against Jackson, including crashing a government car after drinking, giving out sleeping pills without a prescription and being drunk on duty during foreign work travel.
Jackson, who previously served as the presidential physician to former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, has denied the allegations.
“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,” he said in an April 26 statement.
Jackson is still working in the White House Medical Unit, but is no longer the president’s personal doctor.
The president tapped Robert Wilkie, the undersecretary of Defense for personnel and readiness who had been serving as the acting VA secretary, to be the next permanent leader of the VA.
Peter O’Rourke, the former VA chief of staff, is now serving as the acting secretary while Wilkie moves through the Senate confirmation process.