President Trump said Friday that “many people” are looking to serve as his secretary of Veterans Affairs, a day after Trump’s first choice stepped down amid accusations of professional misconduct.
Trump defended White House doctor Ronny Jackson, who withdrew his name from contention after the allegations emerged last week, lauding him as an “American hero.” And he told Americans not to be concerned about who will fill the vacancy left by the departure of former Secretary David Shulkin.
“I have many people that want the position, if you can believe it, with all this being said, we have some excellent people, some vey political people,” Trump said Friday during a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “Your new head of the VA is going to be very exceptional. We have some exceptional people who want to do the job.”
Jackson has faced a laundry list of accusations, including claims that he was a lax distributor of pills during his job at the White House. Jackson has also been accused of being unreachable during overseas trips because of drinking bouts.
Jackson denied the accusations after they were publicly raised by Sen. Jon Tester (Mont.), the top Democrat on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
During his press conference, Trump heaped praise on Jackson and echoed criticism on Tester. Calling Jackson “one of the finest men I’ve met over the last long period of time,” he warned that Tester could face electoral repercussions.
“The false accusations that were made about him by Sen. Tester from a great state, I don’t think that state is going to put up with it. These were false accusations about a great man,” Trump said.
Tester faces a tough reelection fight
in a state Trump won by about 20 points, and his prospective Republican opponents have seized on the controversy to hit Tester, too.