Trump VA pick hesitated to take job: report
White House physician Ronny Jackson initially hesitated at the suggestion that he be nominated to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
Jackson was reportedly shocked when Trump tapped him for the top job at the nation’s second largest government agency, the Post reported, citing senior White House officials.
The sources said that when aides initially gauged Jackson’s interest, he hesitated. But Trump continued to push for the nomination, insisting that the White House physician was his top choice.
One senior White House official described the interview process to the Post as very informal and without the extensive vetting typical for a Cabinet appointment.
The choice of Jackson has prompted concern among some White House aides, who have privately expressed unease about Jackson’s lack of experience managing a large organization.
The New York Times reported Wednesday that some aides acknowledged that Trump’s personal relationship with Jackson carried more weight in the decision to nominate him to the VA job than the doctor’s professional experience.
Jackson performed Trump’s first physical exam since taking office in January, and assured reporters of the president’s good health in an hourlong press briefing shortly after that.
The White House has insisted that Trump has full confidence in Jackson’s ability to lead the VA, and has pointed to his experience in the Navy as a valuable asset.