As we have seen from certain private rants, as well as a host of more public grumblings, Republican lawmakers getting a wee bit fed up with trying to accommodate and justify Donald Trump’s ever-erratic whims. Whether the nomination of Ronny Jackson, the White House doctor who stood in the press room to paint a glowing picture of Donald’s health (and genes) to run the entire effing Department of Veterans Affairs is one bridge too far remains to be seen, but the public comments of the Republican senators who will have to approve Jackson’s nomination suggest he has his work cut out for him.
“Certainly, I do have concerns about his experience, as far as managing people,” said Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.), who sits on the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, which will vet Jackson’s nomination. “There is some concern about whether or not he’s been in a position to lead an organization like that.” […]
“The VA is a difficult place to manage, regardless of what your background experience is. I want to know more about how he believes that he’s capable of fulfilling those responsibilities and I have a wide array of questions in regard to his experience and background,” [Sen. Jerry Moran] said. “I need to be convinced that he can make a difference at a department in which the culture and the upper echelons of its leadership need to have somebody who can take charge.”
The VA has been one of the most consistently troubled agencies in the federal government for a good long time now. It has been besieged with technical troubles, management troubles, and scandals alike; it requires not just skilled management, but a veritable management genius to struggle with that. Instead, it is the latest victim of Donald Trump’s habit of turning over government agencies to whoever has praised him the most glowingly on television, and we are faced with the almost satirical-sounding extreme of pairing his personal physician with “and now go off and fix healthcare for all American veterans around the country.”
Senate Republicans have held their nose through a lot with Trump. They have studiously ignored his scandals, brushed aside his erratic behaviors, and suffered through his unending stream of playground insults. Jackson, however, is being nominated during a period when lawmakers are coming very close to exasperation with Trump; he cannot count on the same goodwill that let so many other dubious nominees sail through without Republican objection. If Jackson cannot prove himself to have a stock of management expertise not yet apparent to his detractors, he is in for a rough confirmation vote.