White House defends Trump VA pick as ‘impeccable’

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders offered a vehement defense of President Trump’s embattled pick to the lead the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), saying Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson’s record is “impeccable” and that the choice was aggressively vetted.
“He has received more vetting than most nominees,” she told reporters at a daily briefing dominated by questions about Jackson, whose nomination appears on life support after allegations of misconduct that senators from both parties described a day earlier as serious.
A day after the White House came under criticism for its vetting of Jackson, Sanders said Jackson had been scrutinized in a “pretty thorough vetting process done by the FBI, as well as three independent investigations.”

The spokeswoman said she believes Jackson last went through a background check at the beginning of the Trump administration. 

The comments are the latest sign that the White House is mounting a full defense of Jackson, who has been tapped to lead the nation’s second-largest Cabinet agency.
Even as she defended Jackson, Sanders said the allegations are “certainly something we would look at.”

Lawmakers have raised concerns about the process used to select the Navy rear admiral.

Trump tweeted on March 28 that he had selected Jackson, who has no experience leading a large organization, before his communications team was alerted, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The vetting process was still underway when accusations surfaced this week that Jackson had drank on the job, improperly dispersed prescription medications and helped create a hostile work environment at the White House Medical Office. 

Whatever vetting process Jackson went through apparently did not find any red flags. Sanders said the four separate background checks “revealed nothing.” 

“There has been no area of concern that was raised about Dr. Jackson specifically,” Sanders said. 
The White House first began mounting a defense of Jackson on Tuesday night, pushing back on those accusations and distributing handwritten notes of praise from President Obama, whom Jackson also served. 

The decision to stand behind Jackson came after he met earlier Tuesday in the Oval Office with Trump, who had previously raised the prospect that the Navy doctor could drop out as nominee.

– Updated at 3:45 p.m.

Tags Department of Veterans Affairs Donald Trump Trump nominee

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