The White House on Wednesday defended itself against charges that it had failed to adequately vet President Donald Trump’s choice to be veterans affairs secretary, whose nomination has been imperiled by charges of misconduct.
“In fact, because Dr. Jackson has worked within arm’s reach of three presidents, he has received more vetting than most nominees,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters, referring to White House physician Ronny Jackson.
“Given his unique position of trust and responsibility, Dr. Jackson’s background and character were evaluated during three different administrations,” Sanders said.
Jackson, who was nominated by Trump in March to lead the sprawling Veterans Affairs department, had been considered an unusual choice for the post given his lack of experience managing a large organization.
John Tester, the top Democrat on the Senate committee considering the nomination, has said the panel had received allegations that Jackson had improperly distributed sleeping pills, drank excessive amounts of alcohol on overseas trips and oversaw a toxic work environment.
Earlier this week, the committee indefinitely postponed a hearing it had planned on the nomination while it looks into the allegations.
Sanders said Jackson had undergone four different background investigations, including an FBI check, and had received glowing recommendations from his superiors, including former President Barack Obama.
Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Writing by Tim Ahmann and Makini Brice; Editing by Bill Trott