The president is, by any measurable standard, really bad at handling staffing issues. For his White House to be effective, you’d think that he’d want to surround himself with people who don’t have major security issues in their background and who are equipped for the job — and ready to fill their position for a significant period of time — but that’s not the path the Trump White House has taken. Instead, the president has lost senior staffer after senior staffer as his administration has dragged on.
One of the senior members of the administration to be pushed out recently is Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin, who lost his job after a scandal involving misuse of government funds and time for travel came to light.
The president originally nominated White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson to fill the position in Shulkin’s absence, but compounding issues with the nomination, allegations came out against him of having led a wildly inappropriately functioning medical office throughout recent years.
The bulk of the allegations are found in a document released by the Democrats of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. Included among them is a story of Jackson having personally taken it upon himself to dish out a large quantity of the opioid painkiller known as Percocet to a White House military office staff member and leaving his own staff in a “panic” when they discovered that the medication was missing, a panic facilitated in part by Jackson sometimes only recording a distribution of pills after it took place.
Ironically, it’s the Trump administration that has in recent weeks and months come out strongly against the improper distribution of opioids to the point of the president seeking the death penalty for certain drug dealers.
That’s not where the allegations of misconduct against the president’s original pick to be the next VA Secretary end. Continuing on with the issue of mishandled medication, Jackson allegedly wrote himself prescriptions at times and had a physician’s assistant actually provide the medication to him after facing scrutiny inside the office.
Jackson is also alleged to have a penchant for drunkenness to the point of having “wrecked a government vehicle” while under the influence of alcohol at a Secret Service going away party, an allegation that Jackson has specifically and unsurprisingly denied.
In another alleged incident, while overseas with the Obama team in 2015, Jackson got drunk and banged on the door of a staff member’s hotel room to the point of attracting the attention of the Secret Service, which tried to get him to calm down in an effort to keep the president himself from being woken up by the noise. The Secret Service has stated they have no record of any such incident.
Originally, the White House stood by Jackson. White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley insisted that the administration would not “write him off in any way before his hearing.”
— NPR Politics (@nprpolitics) April 25, 2018
Jackson eventually withdrew his name from consideration to be the next VA Secretary, and the president has not yet formally nominated someone to take over the position instead of him. He did use the whole debacle, however, as a stepping stone to calling for Senator Jon Tester of Montana, the highest ranking Democrat on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, to resign.
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