The Inspector General of the Department of Defense concluded in an unpublished report that Republican representative Ronny Jackson of Texas had “denigrated” his subordinates, in particular by knocking on the door of a woman who worked for him in the middle of the crisis. night on a presidential trip, and engage in problematic alcohol use while working as the White House’s top doctor.
The report, obtained by The New York Times, shed light on a number of rumors that had harassed Dr Jackson from 2018, after former President Donald J. Trump appointed him to head the Department of Veterans. After allegations emerged that Dr Jackson mishandled prescription drugs, created a hostile work environment, and had problems with alcohol consumption, the White House withdrew his appointment.
Dr. Jackson won a crowded Republican primary race to represent a district in northeast Texas and was elected to Congress in 2020.
The 37-page report, first described by CNN, portrayed a picture of a doctor who engaged in reckless and sometimes threatening behavior, creating an uncomfortable environment for his subordinates. A majority of the 60 witnesses interviewed by investigators said Dr. Jackson created a negative work environment, and nearly all said they had personally witnessed, experienced or heard from colleagues of Dr. Jackson “shouting, insulting or disparaging subordinates. “
Investigators also found that Dr Jackson had behaved inappropriately while traveling abroad with Mr Trump and former President Barack Obama, whom he also served.
In 2014, ahead of a trip to Manila, witnesses said Dr Jackson told a male subordinate that he believed a female healthcare professional they were working with had a beautiful figure, using colorful language. , and that he “would like to see more.” his tattoos.
While in Manila, witnesses said that Dr Jackson went out into town for a night of drinking and returned to the hotel where the medical team was staying and started yelling and hammering on the bedroom door. the subordinate’s hotel between 1 and 2 a.m. while “visibly intoxicated”. Witnesses said he created so much noise they feared it would wake Mr. Obama up.
“He had sort of bloodshot eyes,” the woman reminded investigators. “You could smell the alcohol on his breath, and he leaned into my room and said, ‘I need you.’ I felt really uncomfortable.
On another trip to Argentina with Mr. Trump, a witness recalled that Dr. Jackson “smelled of alcohol” as he assumed his duties as senior travel doctor, and recalled that the doctor had drunk a beer a few hours before continuing. duty, in defiance of a policy preventing White House medical staff from drinking during presidential trips. Dr Jackson had previously told witnesses that he found this rule “stupid”, investigators found.
Former subordinates interviewed by investigators also raised concerns that Dr Jackson would take Ambien, a powerful sleeping pill, to help him sleep during long trips abroad. Although it appears that Dr Jackson was never called upon to provide medical care after taking the drug, his subordinates feared that this may have left him unable to perform his duties.
In a lengthy statement, Dr Jackson accused the Inspector General of resurrecting “false allegations” because “I refused to turn my back on President Trump.”
“I categorically reject any claim that I consumed alcohol while on duty, ”said Dr. Jackson. “I also categorically deny any implication that I was in any way sexually inappropriate at work, outside of work, or anywhere with a member of my staff or anyone else. It is not me and what is alleged did not happen. “
In a backgrounder also provided to reporters, Dr. Jackson’s office noted that Mr. Obama had promoted him to Rear Admiral “after the alleged events” described in the report, and that the then president He had congratulated him profusely on his work.