Montana senator on defense for role in derailing Trump’s Veterans Affairs nominee

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., is pushing back against renewed criticism that he was responsible for Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson’s withdrawal as a nominee to run the Veterans Affairs administration earlier this year.

“Those were accusations that came from military people, both active and retired, and he withdrew his name from the nomination process after those accusations were made,” Tester said here Thursday.

In April, Tester, the top Democrat on the Senate Committee on Veteran’s Affairs, went public with still unproven accusations of misconduct about Jackson involving drugs and alcohol.

“That’s the reports we got from the people, the 20-something people that got a hold of us and said we’ve got a problem, this doctor has a problem because he hands out prescriptions like candy,” Tester said on CNN.  “In fact, in the White House, they call him the ‘candy man.’”

Tester also claimed Thursday to have seen a tweet by President Trump, which seems to be aimed at revving up voters in a state where one out of 10 residents is either an active duty service member or a veteran.

“Ever since his vicious and totally false statements about Adm. Ron Jackson, the highly respected White House doctor for [former President] Obama, [former President] Bush and me, Sen. John Tester looks to be in big trouble in the Great State of Montana! He behaved worse than the Democrat Mob did with Justice K!” Trump tweeted.

On Thursday, during a visit to Montana, Trump continued his criticism of Tester, saying that his opponent, Republican Senate hopeful Matt Rosendale, will represent the country well.

“Far better than Jon Tester, who will vote with Cryin’ [New York Sen.] Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi – never with us!” Trump tweeted.

The president continued bashing the Democratic senator on Twitter.

“The only thing keeping Tester alive is he has millions and millions of dollars from outside liberals and leftists, who couldn’t care less about our Country!” Trump tweeted.

Rosendale is hoping to capitalize on the renewed interest in the Jackson saga.

“He invented this smear tactic that the Washington Democrats are using,” Rosendale said about Tester. “Dianne Feinstein perfected it when she came out and performed her character assassination on Judge Kavanaugh.”