Two officials who worked closely with Ronny Jackson in the Obama administration said the nickname “The Candyman” has been misconstrued.
They told CNN Jackson was, in fact, called that name on occasion, but it was because of his friendly demeanor and people liked being around him.
The officials didn’t dispute that Jackson gave out sleeping aids, but only after asking routine medical questions.
Jackson would ask staffers how long they wanted to sleep and whether they had to get any work done on the flight. The prescriptions ranged from Ambien to non-prescription drugs like melatonin.
“The people who are calling him the Candyman are out to get him,” one of the officials said. “White House staffers were expected to make Transatlantic flights sleeping on the floor. It wasn’t just him.”
Six former Obama officials told CNN they were reluctant to speak on the record because they did not believe Jackson was qualified to lead the Veterans Affairs Department.
They believed he was a highly-qualified, dedicated and attentive physician, but lacked the management experience to run the massive government agency.
A former Obama official who traveled frequently with Jackson said “he had his detractors."
"He was bossy. He was loud,” the official said. But this person said the portrait being painted of Jackson was inaccurate.
While Jackson was known to drink alcohol on trips, the officials said, he was also often seen not drinking in social situations.
The officials said they were never made aware of drunken incidents at the time, which have now been reported to the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee by whistleblowers.