Washington, D.C. (The Hill) — The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee has postponed indefinitely the confirmation hearing for President Trump’s pick to run the Department of Veterans Affairs after committee leaders said they needed to look into “serious allegations” about nominee Ronny Jackson.
While the White House issued a statement Tuesday sticking by Jackson, the delay and an accompanying statement from the committee leaders underlined the problems Trump’s pick may have in moving forward.
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.”
While the statement did not offer details on the allegations faced by Jackson, CBS News reported that staffers are looking into charges of 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, 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.”
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 spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement.