Democrats this week claimed another scalp when Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson withdrew his nomination as secretary of veterans affairs under an avalanche of anonymous allegations from a red-state Democratic senator in a tough re-election fight.
It was a new low in the ongoing effort to undermine each of President Trump’s Cabinet nominees by any means necessary.
Yes, Trump walked into it by nominating Jackson before his staff could see what accusations might arise so they could prep a defense. But that doesn’t make it right.
Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) unveiled a stunning laundry list of complaints allegedly made by unnamed whistleblowers — claims that Jackson was routinely drunk on duty (to the point of being “unresponsive”), created a “toxic work environment” and handed out prescription opioids like “the candy man.”
And yet no one seemed to notice any of this as Jackson was treating three presidents and their families over a 12-year period.
Indeed, Jackson routinely got glowing performance reviews from Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, who repeatedly recommended his promotion.
Yes, a 2012 Navy medical inspector general report cited “unprofessional behavior” by Jackson and a rival then engaged in a power struggle, which it compared to “parents going through a bitter divorce.”
But nothing in that report — which was far more critical of his rival — or in any of the four FBI background checks he’s undergone raised even a hint of the appalling conduct that Tester alleged.
Again, this was the man in charge of the personal health of three presidents from both parties. The incidents were said to have occurred on official trips with Secret Service present. Are we really supposed to believe that no one knew — or cared?
If that’s true, then (as the Wall Street Journal’s James Freeman noted) America has a bigger problem than Ronny Jackson.
Sadly, the decorated combat vet, inexperienced in DC’s often-treacherous ways, never got the chance to answer his accusers — or even to learn their names.
And because this most vicious character assassination succeeded in taking down Jackson, future nominees will face the same, or even worse.
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