Ronny L. Jackson, the Navy rear admiral whom President Trump unsuccessfully nominated to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, will not return to his previous role as the president’s personal physician, a White House official said Sunday.
Jackson, who withdrew as Trump’s VA pick last week, will remain on the staff of the White House medical unit, the official added. Sean Conley, a Navy veteran who took over Jackson’s responsibilities after his nomination, will remain in the role as Trump’s personal doctor.
Jackson, a former combat physician who faced almost immediate criticism that he was not qualified to oversee VA, withdrew his nomination Thursday after the office of Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) released allegations against Jackson that he drank on the job, overprescribed medication and presided over a toxic work environment.
Jackson’s new role was first reported by Politico.
“Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson is currently on active duty, assigned to the White House as Deputy Assistant to the President. Despite published reports, there are no personnel announcements at this time,” White House principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah said in a statement Monday.
Jackson has denied the allegations against him, which have proved difficult to verify or disprove. Tester’s staff has yet to release documentation supporting the accusations, and a Secret Service statement on Friday said the agency had found no evidence to support one of the specific allegations.
On Saturday, Trump called on Tester to resign. In a tweet, the president declared the allegations against Jackson “not true.”
“There were no such findings,” Trump tweeted. “A horrible thing that we in D.C. must live with, just like phony Russian Collusion. Tester should lose race in Montana. Very dishonest and sick!”
Tester is facing a tough Senate campaign ahead of November’s midterm elections, and the president made it clear that he hopes to use the Jackson incident against the lawmaker in the race.
“I know things about Tester that I can say, too,” Trump said later Saturday at a campaign-style rally in Michigan. “And if I said them, he’d never be elected again.”