White House stands behind VA pick Jackson

White House stands behind VA pick Jackson
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The Trump administration is standing by Ronny Jackson, the president's choice to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, even as allegations of workplace misconduct threaten to upend his nomination.

"Admiral Jackson has been on the front lines of deadly combat and saved the lives of many others in service to this country. He’s served as the physician to three Presidents — Republican and Democrat — and been praised by them all," White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said Tuesday in a statement.

"Admiral Jackson’s record of strong, decisive leadership is exactly what’s needed at the VA to ensure our veterans receive the benefits they deserve."

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The Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee was scheduled to hold a confirmation hearing on Wednesday, but it was reported Tuesday morning that the hearing was delayed indefinitely.

Jackson currently serves as Trump's personal physician. Even before the new allegations, senators from both parties questioned Jackson's experience and overall qualifications to lead the massive government agency. 

Trump nominated Jackson last month after he fired the previous VA Secretary David ShulkinDavid Jonathon ShulkinVeterans group sues to block advisers known as ‘Mar-a-Lago Crowd’ from influencing VA Mar-a-Lago insiders provided input on VA policy, personnel decisions: report Ahead of speech, Kansas City newspaper urges Trump to listen to veterans MORE. Shulkin contends he was pushed out because he opposed privatizing the agency, but he also faced allegations over the misuse of taxpayer funds.

Members of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee have reportedly been informed of unverified allegations of misconduct against Jackson, posing a new roadblock for his nomination.

The Washington Post first reported Monday evening that the panel is delaying a confirmation hearing for Jackson as members look into the new claims.

Two sources told CNN that Republicans and Democrats on the committee have been informed of allegations of improper conduct at more than one stage in Jackson's career. He currently serves as White House physician. 

Staffers are reviewing allegations of a "hostile work environment," CBS News reported, including "excessive drinking on the job [and] improperly dispensing meds.” 

"It'll sink his nomination" if the claims are true, one source told CBS, which reported that Veterans' Affairs Committee ranking member Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterSenate gets to work in August — but many don’t show up Pearl Jam criticized for poster featuring dead Trump, burning White House Montana GOP Senate hopeful touts Trump's support in new ad MORE (D-Mont.) had requested the hearing be delayed.

--Updated at 10:20 a.m.