Trump gives cover for VA nominee to withdraw

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President Trump on Tuesday gave his embattled pick to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs cover if he wants to withdraw his nomination.
Trump repeatedly said the choice to withdraw was Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson’s, but he also questioned why he would want to go forward and take the “abuse” from politicians.
{mosads}“It’s totally his decision, he’ll be making a decision,” Trump said when asked about the nomination of Jackson, who is the White House physician to the president. 
The president said he told Jackson “this is a vicious group of people that malign. What do you need this for? … You’re too fine a person.” 
It is difficult to see how Jackson will remain as the nominee after Trump, who acted alone to pick him for the job, effectively told him he would be better off if he stepped aside. 
“If I were him, I wouldn’t do it,” Trump said. 
Jackson’s confirmation hearing was postponed amid allegations of misconduct during his tenure as the top physician at the White House. 
CBS News reported that staffers on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee are looking into charges against Jackson of creating a “hostile work environment,” including “excessive drinking on the job [and] improperly dispensing meds.”

Jackson is on Capitol Hill meeting with members and expressed disappointment in a hallway interview with MSNBC about the postponement of the hearing, saying he had been looking forward to it. But he did not comment on the allegations swirling around him.

“Kind of disappointed that it’s been postponed, but I’m looking forward to getting it rescheduled and answering everybody’s questions,” he said in a response to a question about the allegations.

Asked if the charges about a hostile work environment, drinking on the job and over-prescribing medicines are “categorically untrue,” Jackson said he was “looking forward to the hearing, so we can sit down and I can explain everything to everyone and answer all the senators’ questions.”

Trump’s comments came after the White House stood by Jackson earlier on Tuesday morning.

“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,” White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement.

Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Sen. John Tester (Mont.), the panel’s ranking Democrat, said in a statement that they were delaying the hearing because of “new information presented to the committee” about Jackson, who has been serving as the White House physician.

“We take very seriously our constitutional duty to thoroughly and carefully vet each nominee sent to the Senate for confirmation,” the two said in a statement. “We will continue looking into these serious allegations and have requested additional information from the White House to enable the committee to conduct a full review.”

Tags Donald Trump Johnny Isakson
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