Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, President Donald Trump’s pick to head the Department of Veterans Affairs, was allegedly “abusive” to his colleagues, loosely handled prescription pain medications and was periodically intoxicated, even crashing a car once while drunk, according to allegations detailed in an explosive document compiled by Senate Democrats.
The document, written by Democratic staff on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, lists a range of allegations detailed by what they say are 23 current and former colleagues of Jackson.
Lawmakers have not yet substantiated these details and are investigating them further.
Among the most damaging allegations: Jackson was drunk and “wrecked a government vehicle” while at a going-away party. It also says that “on at least one occasion” Jackson “could not be reached when needed because he was passed out drunk in his hotel room.”
The documents did not include further significant details, the document states, in part to “protect the identities of those involved.”
Jackson has not responded to the full slate of charges, but while speaking to reporters on Wednesday afternoon, denied the allegation that he wrecked the government car, and said that he is staying in the nomination process.
“I have no idea where that is coming from,” Jackson said at the White House. “I have not wrecked a car. I can tell you that.”
The allegations in the document are unsubstantiated, and members of the committee are working to learn more about the alleged incidents that have been relayed to them by Jackson’s former and current colleagues.
Other allegations included in the document include that Jackson would prescribe medications when “other physicians would not” and that the White House’s medical unit had “questionable record keeping for pharmaceuticals,” making it difficult to account for all controlled substances. In one instance, according to the document, Jackson provided “a large supply” of Percocet to a White House Military Office staffer, throwing the White House Medical Unit staff “into a panic” when it could not account for it.
They come on a day where the White House has mounted a robust defense of Jackson’s credibility and qualifications for his job, as officials faced questions about Jackson’s conduct and workplace behavior.
Earlier Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters that Jackson had passed four background investigations, including a recent FBI investigation that is part of the vetting process for Cabinet nominees. She said the investigations “revealed no areas of concern.”
Sanders defended Jackson’s record as “impeccable,” suggesting that Jackson’s current position as the White House physician meant that he had been more thoroughly vetted than other Cabinet nominees.
“Dr. Jackson’s record as a White House physician has been impeccable,” Sanders said. “Because he has worked within arm’s reach of three presidents, he has in fact received more vetting than most nominees.”
The White House has yet to respond to the full slate of allegations compiled by the Democratic committee staff.