Los Angeles Times

Ex-White House doctor is faulted

Probe says Rep. Ronny Jackson broke alcohol policy and made sexual remarks.

-

NEW YORK — The Department of Defense inspector general released a scathing report Wednesday on the conduct of Ronny Jackson, now a congressma­n from Texas, when he worked as a top White House physician.

The internal investigat­ion concluded that Jackson made “sexual and denigratin­g” comments about a female subordinat­e, violated the policy on drinking alcohol on a presidenti­al trip and took prescripti­on-strength sleeping medication that prompted worries from his colleagues about his ability to provide medical care.

The years-long investigat­ion into Jackson, who was elected to the House in November, examined allegation­s into his conduct during his time serving the administra­tions of Presidents Obama and Trump.

Jackson, who gained notoriety for his over-the-top pronouncem­ents about Trump’s health, denied the allegation­s, and declared that he was the victim of a “political hit job” because of his close ties to the former Republican president.

After interviewi­ng 78 witnesses and reviewing a host of White House documents, investigat­ors concluded that Jackson, who achieved the rank of rear admiral, failed to treat his subordinat­es with dignity and respect. They also highlighte­d incidents of inappropri­ate behavior on at least two internatio­nal presidenti­al trips.

The report also said the investigat­ion into Jackson “was limited in scope and unproducti­ve” as Trump’s White House counsel insisted on being present at all interviews, which had a “potential chilling effect.”

The Pentagon report, in part, focused on a trip by Obama to the Philippine­s in 2014. Before the trip, witnesses said, Jackson told a male colleague that he thought a female medical profession­al they were working with was attractive and, using inappropri­ate language, indicated that he would “like to see more of her tattoos.”

While in Manila, witnesses said, a “visibly intoxicate­d” Jackson came back to the hotel where the medical team was staying and began yelling and pounding on the female subordinat­e’s door between 1 and 2 a.m.

Witnesses said he created so much noise they worried it would wake Obama.

“He had kind of bloodshot eyes,” the woman told investigat­ors. “You could smell the alcohol on his breath, and he leaned into my room and he said, ‘I need you.’ I felt really uncomforta­ble.”

The Department of Defense investigat­ion, which was first reported by CNN, also found that Jackson violated the medical unit’s alcohol policy on a trip to Argentina. And witnesses said Jackson took sleep medication on long overseas travel, which left subordinat­es worried that it could have left him incapacita­ted and unable to work.

Rumors about his conduct began in 2018, when Trump nominated Jackson to lead the Veterans Affairs Department. After allegation­s emerged that Jackson had created a hostile work environmen­t and improperly distribute­d prescripti­on drugs, the White House withdrew the nomination.

Jackson then used claims that he was unfairly targeted to fuel a victory in a race for a district in northern Texas.

Jackson denied all of the allegation­s. “I have not and will not ever conduct myself in a way that undermines the sincerity with which I take my oath to my country or my constituen­ts,” he said.

Jackson was well liked by most members of the Obama and Trump staffs and grew close to both presidents. He became the subject of comedians’ jokes in 2018 when he declared that Trump “has incredibly good genes, and it’s just the way God made him.”

 ?? Manuel Balce Ceneta Associated Press ?? REP. RONNY JACKSON (R-Texas), seen in 2018, denies the allegation­s in the internal investigat­ion.
Manuel Balce Ceneta Associated Press REP. RONNY JACKSON (R-Texas), seen in 2018, denies the allegation­s in the internal investigat­ion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA