President Donald Trump on Saturday morning called for Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester to resign over his opposition to White House physician Ronny Jackson’s nomination for secretary of veterans affairs, saying some of the allegations against Jackson “are proving false.”Tester, the top Democrat on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, had raised concerns about allegations against Jackson, including that he loosely handled prescription pain medications, was intoxicated during an overseas trip, and created a toxic work environment. Jackson withdrew his nomination on Thursday.“Allegations made by Senator Jon Tester against Admiral/Doctor Ron Jackson are proving false,” Trump wrote in a pair of tweets. “The Secret Service is unable to confirm (in fact they deny) any of the phony Democrat charges which have absolutely devastated the wonderful Jackson family. Tester should resign. The………great people of Montana will not stand for this kind of slander when talking of a great human being. Admiral Jackson is the kind of man that those in Montana would most respect and admire, and now, for no reason whatsoever, his reputation has been shattered. Not fair, Tester!”The White House showed reporters documents that a White House official claims exonerates Jackson from allegations he inappropriately dispensed pills and wrecked a government vehicle after leaving a Secret Service going away party. The Secret Service said it did not find any information to indicate he banged on the hotel room of a female employee while intoxicated on an oversees trip, as four sources familiar with the allegation told CNN the incident did happen.
Yeah, not that I need to explain it to you but I’m still going to highlight why this is ridiculously stupid:
Election-year politics aside, this makes little logical sense. Tester is the Ranking Democrat on the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs. As Jackson’s confirmation hearings neared, Tester was approached by what he said were more than 20 people, who claimed that the doctor had engaged in inappropriate behavior in recent years, which ranged from handing out Ambien to staffers on a White House plane to creating a generally toxic work environment to crashing a car while under the influence of alcohol. Tester signed a statement with his Republican counterpart, Georgia Senator Jonny Isaakson, demanding that the allegations be investigated.
Many of these accounts were also corroborated by media outlets.
Once the allegations became public, Jackson fell into deep trouble on both sides of the aisle. As it became clear that he lacked 50 votes to proceed, he announced on Thursday that he would be withdrawing from the confirmation process, though the White House is keeping him on in his previous role as White House physician.
The White House said on Friday that after conducting a review, it had found no evidence that Jackson had ever crashed a car. This discrepancy is the basis for Trump’s assertion that Jackson is innocent of all charges, or, as he put it on Friday, an “American hero.”
Allegations aside, Jackson was clearly not qualified to lead a sprawling federal agency. His central qualification was having served as as Trump’s personal physician, a role he had played in three different White Houses. As is typical in the chaotic Trump White House, he was not vetted in any real way. Yet there’s a good chance he would have survived his confirmation hearings if not for the allegations of personal impropriety, which any other White House likely would have known about before selecting him.
In other words, the White House created an eminently avoidable problem, and now wants to pretend it’s nefarious, Trump-hating Democrats who caused it.
Trump can try to bull Tester all he wants but Tester ain’t having it:
As Tester’s reelection campaign kicks into high gear, Trump is more motivated than ever to campaign against him in the ruby-red state — accusing the senator of irresponsibly leaking the damaging information to undermine the president’s nominee.
Trump said Thursday that Tester will have a “big price to pay” for his part in working to sink Jackson’s nomination. But Tester is sanguine about his decision to go public with accusations about Jackson’s workplace misconduct, poor prescription practices and drinking on the job.
“If he thinks it’s my job to sweep his stuff under the table and ignore our military folks, he’s wrong. If he thinks I should not be sticking up for veterans, he’s wrong,” Tester said Thursday of the president. “I look forward to working with President Trump. I’ve worked with him many times in the past, but we disagree.”
Let’s make sure Tester is back in the Senate next year to keep protecting Veterans from Trump’s disastrous nominees. Click here to donate and get involved with Tester’s re-election campaign.