The Department of Defense released a withering review of Rep. Ronny Jackson’s (R-Texas) tenure as top White House physician Wednesday, outlining details of sexually inappropriate behavior, an explosive temper and the use of alcohol and prescription-grade sleeping medication while working.
The investigation—which was launched in 2018, reviewed a trove of White House documents and ultimately interviewed 78 witnesses—examined allegations of misconduct during Jackson’s time as the top White House physician in the Obama and Trump administrations.
The report paints a damning portrayal of Jackson’s leadership style, with an “overwhelming majority of witnesses” reporting him as “yelling, screaming, cursing, or belittling subordinates,” and others describing him as a “tyrant,” “dictator,” and “control freak.”
The report outlines two instances of Jackson reportedly drinking alcohol on presidential trips in violation of protocol, with the physician allegedly making “sexual and denigrating” remarks about a female medical subordinate while intoxicated.
Six witnesses, all medical personnel, raised questions about Jackson’s fitness to provide care to senior government officials during long flights, when he would take the prescription medication Ambien to combat insomnia.
Though drugs like Ambien can impair functioning, there are no guidelines governing their use in these situations, something the investigator has called for the White House to remedy.
Jackson, in a comment to CNN, strenuously denied the report’s findings and claimed it is politically motivated, asserting: “Democrats are using this report to repeat and rehash untrue attacks on my integrity.”
“I’m proud of the work environment I fostered under three different presidents of both parties; I take my professional responsibility with respect to prescription drug practices seriously; and I flat out reject any allegation that I consumed alcohol while on duty,” Jackson said to CNN. The congressman said his “entire professional life has been defined by duty and service”—in the Navy, to three presidents and now the people of Texas’ 13th District—and “I have not and will not ever conduct myself in a way that undermines the sincerity with which I take my oath to my country or my constituents.”
What To Watch For
The Department of Defense investigator recommends the Navy take “appropriate action” regarding Jackson, which could see his retirement rank, and consequently his retirement pay, reviewed.
Jackson retired from the United States Navy after 25 years of active duty in 2019 with the rank of Rear Admiral. He served under three presidents while working at the White House, acting as chief physician for Obama and Trump. Jackson raised eyebrows in 2018 when he extolled Trump’s extraordinary health and fitness, saying he had “incredible genes” and could have lived to 200 years old if only he’d eaten a healthier diet over the last 20 years. Jackson failed in his bid to lead the Veterans Affairs Department amid allegations of excessive drinking, a hostile work environment and improperly dispensing prescription medication.