Dem senator: Trump's VA pick nicknamed 'candy man' for handing out prescriptions

Dem senator: Trump's VA pick nicknamed 'candy man' for handing out prescriptions
© Greg Nash

Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterCentrist efforts to convince Trump to end shutdown falter Dems offer measure to raise minimum wage to per hour Some Senate Dems see Ocasio-Cortez as weak spokeswoman for party MORE (D-Mont.) said Tuesday that Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, the White House physician President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump claims media 'smeared' students involved in encounter with Native American man Al Sharpton criticizes Trump’s ‘secret’ visit to MLK monument Gillibrand cites spirituality in 2020 fight against Trump’s ‘dark’ values MORE has nominated to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), had been nicknamed "the candy man" for handing out prescription drugs.

Tester, the top Democrat on the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, said on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" that "in overseas trips, in particular, the admiral would go down the [aisle] of the airplane and say, 'All right, who wants to go to sleep?' and hand out the prescription drugs like they were candy."

Tester said the Senate panel had heard from more than 20 individuals serving in the military or who had retired discussing the doctor’s alleged prescription drug dispensing practices.

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“That’s the reports that we got from the people, 20-something people, who got a hold of us and said, 'We have a problem. This doctor has a problem because he hands out prescriptions like candy.' In fact, in the White House they call him the candy man,” Tester said.

“That’s not a nickname that you want in a doctor and if you consider the prescription drugs we have a problem with in this country right now, it’s not the example we need to have set,” Tester added.

Jackson has been under intense scrutiny after reports that he also drank on the job and created a hostile work environment.

According to the reports, Tester aides said they heard that Jackson had become intoxicated during official White House travel and during one trip during the Obama administration he was found passed out in his hotel when White House staff needed to reach him.

Even though Trump earlier on Tuesday left the door open for Jackson to withdraw his nomination, Jackson has said he plans to push forward and the White House defended the embattled VA pick.