On Wednesday, the Department of Defense a scathing review of Rep. Ronny Jackson’s conduct when he was the top White House physician during the Obama and Trump administrations. Jackson, a staunch Trump ally, currently represents Texas 13th Congressional District which covers the Panhandle and Amarillo.
According to investigators, Jackson created a hostile work environment, drank on the job, and engaged in inappropriate behavior toward a female subordinate.
The 37-page report was the result of interviews with 78 witnesses and mounds of documents. Investigators notice the Trump Administration’s lawyers insisted on being present during all interviews with members of the White House Medical Unit, which they say had a “potential chilling effect. ”In spite of this, witnesses still painted a disturbing picture of Jackson’s behavior during his time at the White House.
56 witnesses described a consistent pattern of bullying and an explosive temper. Terms used to describe Jackson include “tyrant,” “dictator,” “control freak,” “hallmarks of fear and intimidation,” “crappy manager,” and “not a leader at all.”
One particularly disturbing incident occurred in 2014 during a trip to Manila. Jackson allegedly pounded on the hotel room door of a female subordinate while intoxicated and said “I need you to come to my room” when she answered. Witnesses say he made so much noise they were concerned he’d wake President Obama. The report also details inappropriate comments Jackson made to colleagues about a female subordinate’s body during the same trip.
Witnesses also report Jackson drinking on duty on a presidential trip to Argentina two years later. Regulations prohibit White House medical personnel from drinking on presidential trips from 24 hours before the president arrives until two hours after they leave.
The report also says that colleagues were concerned about Jackson’s heavy use of Ambien on long flights, a sleep medication that can impair mental faculties. However, the report also noted that there is no restriction on the use of Ambien during flights.
Although scathing, the report did not address allegations that Jackson inappropriately dispensed and wrecked a government vehicle.
These incidents had been made public before and were a large part of why Jackson withdrew himself from consideration for Secretary of Veterans Affairs after being nominated by Trump. While White House physician, Jackson also attracted controversy for painting an excessively rosy of Trump’s health.
Jackson has denied the allegations and is claiming that he is subject to“a political hit job” because he “stood with President Trump.” This is in spite of the fact that the Inspector General’s investigation began in 2018, while Trump was president.
After failing in his bid for VA Secretary, Jackson turned to politics and ran for Congress in 2020. Although he represents the 13th District, he does not actually live there. He was elected in large part due to his close relationship with Trump. Jackson currently sits on the Armed Services Committee, which is in charge of overseeing policy regarding military personnel.
Photo: House Creative Committee / Wikimedia Commons