During Wednesday’s White House press briefing, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders assured the media that Dr. Ronny Jackson, the White House physician and President Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, was properly vetted by the administration before he was chosen.
Jackson has come under intense scrutiny over the past few days after it was revealed he had been accused of drinking on the job and creating a toxic work environment for his employees.
The White House claims they found no evidence of these accusations during Jackson’s background check.
“I’m telling you that none of those things have come up in the four separate background investigations that have taken place,” Sanders told reporters. “There’s been no area of concern that was raised for Dr. Jackson specifically.”
Sanders is unable to say what the White House did to vet Ronny Jackson beyond a background check. (There is an inspector general report detailing his alleged misconduct that the administration apparently did not see.) pic.twitter.com/mOT5D77rB8
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 25, 2018
The New York Times, however, detailed just how damning the accusations against Jackson are.
The Times obtained a two-page summary of Jackson’s missteps, compiled by the Democratic staff of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.
In it, Jackson was described by former staff as being “the most unethical person I have ever worked with,” and as having “screaming tantrums” and “screaming fits.”
Multiple individuals on Jackson’s staff nicknamed him the “Candyman,” according to the report, because of his willingness to provide White House staff with whatever medication they wanted without a prescription.
The summary also addresses Jackson’s relationship with alcohol.
“Multiple instances of drunkenness on duty were described to Committee staff,” the report states. “Several of these incidents involve overseas travel.”
“At a going away party, Jackson got drunk and wrecked a government vehicle.”
Is this bad? pic.twitter.com/dbRy7yvl9A
— Sam Stein (@samstein) April 25, 2018
Jackson has since denied the allegation he crashed a government vehicle, and has expressed his intention to move forward with his nomination.
This is not the first time the White House has improperly “vetted” an administration appointee. The Trump team reportedly conducted a full background check on former national security adviser Michael Flynn, yet somehow failed to uncover the fact he may have broken federal law by receiving money from Russia and Turkey without disclosing it. Matthew Petersen, one of Trump’s recent nominees to the federal judiciary, openly struggled with simple questions about basic legal procedure during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Another candidate, Brett Talley, did not disclose the fact that he is married to a White House lawyer, and received a rare “not qualified” rating from the American Bar Association, which handles vets for judicial nominees. Donald Trump nominated him anyway.