White House Stands by Veterans Affairs Pick After Senate Delay

(Bloomberg) -- The Trump administration is standing behind White House physician Ronny L. Jackson after his confirmation to be Secretary of Veterans Affairs was slowed by questions about his background and experience.

“Admiral Jackson has been on the front lines of deadly combat and saved the lives of many others in service to this country,” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement. “He’s served as the physician to three Presidents -- Republican and Democrat -- and been praised by them all. Admiral Jackson’s record of strong, decisive leadership is exactly what’s needed at the VA to ensure our veterans receive the benefits they deserve.”

Senate lawmakers postponed Jackson’s confirmation hearing Monday after Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs raised concerns about his qualifications to manage the federal government’s second-largest department.

The Washington Post and CBS News both reported Monday that the concerns included allegations of a hostile work environment and excessive drinking on the job. The New York Times reported that the committee is also probing allegations he allowed drugs to be overprescribed.

Last month, President Donald Trump nominated Jackson to head the department, which has more than 350,000 employees, exceeded in size only by the Defense Department.

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