President Donald Trump’s embattled pick to head the Department of Veterans Affairs denied that he crashed a government car while drunk, one of a string of new accusations unearthed by Democrats on Wednesday.
Dr. Ronny Jackson said he would move ahead with the nomination process despite the allegations of bad behavior.
“Did not wreck a car. Should be pretty ... pretty easy to prove that,” he said, adding he “doesn’t know where these allegations are coming from.”
The White House physician said he’s looking forward to “answering everybody’s questions.”
Based on conversations with 23 of Jackson’s colleagues and former colleagues, the review by Democrats says Jackson was nicknamed “Candyman” by White House staff because he would provide prescriptions without paperwork. Drugs he prescribed included Ambien, used for sleep, and Provigil, used to help wake up.
The colleagues and former colleagues also told congressional staffers that there were multiple incidents of drunkenness on duty and said Jackson got drunk at a Secret Service going-away party and wrecked a government car.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters that Jackson’s record has been “impeccable” and that background checks revealed “no areas of concern.”
Sanders noted that he had received “glowing evaluations” including several from President Obama.
Fox News obtained documents showing glowing praise from Obama, calling him “a tremendous asset to the entire White House team.”
The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee indefinitely postponed Jackson’s confirmation hearing, which had been scheduled for Wednesday. It cited a need for more time to investigate complaints made by current and former employees of Jackson about his fitness to be V.A. secretary.
With Congress set to recess Friday for a week, the earliest a hearing could be held would be in about 10 days.
Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., said Jackson “deserves a hearing and he’s going to get it.”
Sanders also noted that Jackson has worked “within arm’s reach of three presidents.”
“Given his unique position of trust and responsibility, Dr. Jackson’s background and character were evaluated during three different administrations,” she said. “Dr. Jackson has had at least four independent background investigations conducted during his time at the White House including an FBI investigation conducted as part of the standard nomination vetting process.”
As he walked to record his weekly address, Trump was asked Wednesday if he still supported Jackson’s nomination.
Trump didn’t respond.
White House spokesman Raj Shah later said Trump met with Jackson Wednesday, and he said the president still supported the nomination.
When pressed on whether the White House was prepping for a withdrawal of the nomination, Shah said broadly, “We’re prepared for anything.”
The president had backed Jackson a day earlier, saying he stood by Jackson no matter what but, “If I were him … I wouldn’t do it.”
“It’s totally his decision, but he’ll be making a decision,” Trump said of Jackson.
Fox News’ Serafin Gomez, Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.