The failed nomination of Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson to be the next Secretary of Veterans Affairs dealt another blow to an agency already reeling from months of chaos and facing critical shortfalls in program funding and medical staffing.
Jackson, M.D., has been the source of controversy over the past few days as current and former White House staff alleged that he drank excessively and dispensed medication inappropriately.
Presidential press secretary Sarah Sanders said Jackson was on the job at the White House on Thursday but White House officials declined to immediately make clear whether he would remain as the top White House physician. Bipartisan leaders of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs officially delayed Jackson's confirmation hearing earlier this week.
White House doctor Ronny Jackson remains on the job, despite withdrawing from consideration as VA secretary.
Speaking at a news conference Tuesday, Trump defended Jackson but suggested that Jackson might withdraw himself from consideration.
Jon Tester, the highest ranking Democrat on the Senate committee, which delayed Jackson's confirmation hearing in light of the allegations this week, released the details Wednesday from his staff's interviews with 23 current and former colleagues of Jackson. Trump says there will be consequences for the Democratic senator who led the charge against Jackson.
He said Jackson became known as "Candyman" because of the way he handed out drugs.
Read Also: Watch: When US President Donald Trump flicks "dandruff" off French President Emmanuel Macron's suit "Unfortunately, because of how Washington works, these false allegations have become a distraction for this President and the important issue we must be addressing - how we give the best care to our nation's heroes", Jackson said. "I want to thank the servicemembers who bravely spoke out over the past week. My sleeves are rolled up and ready to work with Chairman Isakson to vet and confirm a Secretary who is fit to run the VA".
Veterans teams expressed dismay over the persevering with uncertainty on the VA, pointing to a doubtlessly defective vetting course of by the White Home.
Dan Caldwell, executive director of conservative advocacy group Concerned Veterans for America, urged the White House to "take its time to carefully select and vet a new nominee".
Jackson's announcement comes as Senate Democrats revealed they planned to further probe the allegations about his on-the-job conduct.
In a section on Jackson's prescribing practices, the summary said that in one case, missing Percocet tabs threw members of the White House Medical Unit into a panic - but it turned out he had prescribed a "large supply" of the opioid to a White House Military Office staffer.
At a Secret Service going away party, investigators reported, Jackson allegedly got drunk and "wrecked a government vehicle". "On at least one occasion, Dr. Jackson could not be reached when needed because he was passed out drunk in his hotel room", the summary says. Many state medical boards enable medical doctors to maintain their licenses and return to apply in the event that they full particular remedy applications and undergo random urine screens.
Sanders said Wednesday that the allegations released by Tester's office are new.
His prior nominees for labor secretary, Army secretary and Navy secretary all withdrew past year after questions arose during their vetting process.
After reports surfaced Monday evening that there were serious complaints about Jackson's behavior, the White House issued several statements in support of their nominee.
That report by the Navy's Medical Inspector Normal discovered an absence of belief within the management and low morale amongst employees members, who described the working atmosphere as "being caught between dad and mom going by a bitter divorce". It's acting head is Robert Wilkie, who was moved into the role from another appointed position at the Defense Department.