U.S. Rep. Ronny Jackson made “sexual and denigrating” comments about a female subordinate and engaged in inappropriate use of alcohol while on two presidential trips during his time as the White House physician, according to a Pentagon inspector general report.
Investigators interviewed 78 witnesses and reviewed White House documents to reach the conclusion that Jackson, R-Texas, failed to treat his subordinates on the White House Medical Unit staff with dignity and respect, the report said.
Jackson “disparaged, belittled, bullied, and humiliated” subordinates, creating a negative work environment, according to the report.
It also said that Jackson, who served as White House physician to Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, violated White House Military Office policy on drinking alcohol while on presidential trips to Manila, Philippines, in April 2014 and a trip to Bariloche, Argentina, in March 2016.
Ronnny Jackson served as White House physician under former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
In Manila, Jackson became intoxicated and engaged in behavior that witnesses described as screaming and yelling while in his hotel room, the report said. In Bariloche, Jackson drank a beer.
Jackson also used the sleep aid Ambien while on duty during long overseas flights, raising concerns from members of the White House Medical Unit staff, according to the report.
Jackson, who achieved the rank of rear admiral in the Navy, issued a written statement in his defense to the Texas Tribune.
“Three years ago I was the subject of a political hit job because I stood with President Trump,” Jackson said. “Today, a Department of Defense Inspector General report has resurrected those same false allegations from my years with the Obama Administration because I have refused to turn my back on President Trump.
“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.”
Allegations of misconduct first arose after Trump nominated Jackson to be Veteran’s Affairs secretary in April 2018. The doctor withdrew from the running after the Pentagon inspector general began investigating allegations of workplace misconduct, such as alcohol abuse and mishandling prescription drugs. Jackson called the charges “false and fabricated” at the time.
Jackson succeeded retiring U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry in November after beating Democratic opponent Gus Trujillo to represent Texas’ District 13 in the House of Representatives.