The odds of President Trump's Veteran Affairs nominee actually assuming that post seem to be shrinking quickly, and Trump himself said Tuesday he'd understand if White House physician Ronny Jackson bowed out, reports the AP. “If I were him … I wouldn’t do it,” Trump said during a press conference. “What does he need it for? To be abused by a bunch of politicians?” Trump, who defended Jackson as "one of the finest people I have ever met," spoke after the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee postponed its confirmation hearing for Jackson Wednesday to investigate various allegations, none of which have been spelled out or substantiated. Details:
- Jackson himself: The doctor gave no sign he's planning to withdraw. In a statement, he said he's disappointed the hearing was postponed, "but I’m looking forward to getting it rescheduled and answering everybody’s questions," per the Hill.
- A pattern? Stories by CNN and the New York Times hit on the three big general allegations: That Jackson presided over hostile work environment, allowed the over-prescribing of drugs in the White House medical unit, and drank to excess. Both stories cite sources saying the allegations are seen not as isolated incidents but as part of a pattern of behavior.
- Big caveat: Everything is still unsubstantiated. “Swirl of allegations happens all the time," says Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, a member of the veterans committee, per Politico. "You have to show proof. Haven’t seen that yet." Still, GOP panel chief Johnny Isakson and top Democrat Jon Tester wrote a letter to Trump (see it here) requesting all paperwork related to Jackson's White House duties.