"Jon poked the bear": Tester braces for Trump's revenge

Saul Bowman
April 28, 2018

Tester, who sits on the Senate Veterans Affairs committee, actively campaigned against Jackson, sitting for several media interviews to attack his character.

So angry that Trump says Montana's Jon Tester "should resign".

President Donald Trump reacted to the withdrawal of Veterans Affairs secretary nominee Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson. "Tester should resign", Trump tweeted on Saturday. Trump said he found the name-calling Jackson experienced - some called him "candyman" for his alleged habit of overprescribing medications - to be "disgraceful".

Trump himself praised Jackson, saying, "He's a great man, and he got treated very, very unfairly".

Dr. Ronny Jackson, left, withdrew from consideration to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs after criticism from U.S. Sen.

CNN reported Friday, after Jackson withdrew, that the White House medical unit under his watch frequently functioned as a "grab and go" clinic where mid-level staffers to the most senior officials could obtain prescription drugs without being examined by a doctor, according to five of the medical unit's former and current employees. Democratic Sen. Jon Tester's office collected the allegations, which included a claim that Jackson "got drunk and wrecked a government vehicle" at a Secret Service going-away party.

The VA is without a secretary after the departure of David Shulkin, who Trump fired last month after an inspector general's report accused him of improperly accepting gifted tickets to a Wimbledon tennis match and accused members of his staff of altering documents to convince the federal government to pay for his wife's travel. Tester spokeswoman Marnee Banks told the AP the office would not comment until it knew more about the White House records.

In withdrawing his nomination Thursday morning, Jackson said the range of allegations made against him were "completely false and fabricated". The agency said it has found "no information that would indicate the allegation is accurate" and no record of any incident involving Jackson.

The Secret Service also challenged a CNN report that said Jackson had to be stopped by agents during an overseas trip for banging on a White House staffer's hotel room door, over concerns that the noise might disturb then-President Barack Obama. Numerous accusations were compiled by the office of U.S. Sen.

In a statement dated Thursday, the Secret Service said it had conducted a "thorough review" of internal documents related to Obama's foreign trips in 2015 and interviewed people who were present.

Jackson, who previously served presidents Obama and George W. Bush, was tapped by Trump to lead the VA after Shulkin departed March 28.

Trump said on Fox that he has an idea for a replacement nominee, adding it will be "someone with political capability".

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