White House Doctor Withdraws Name to Be Next Veterans Chief
The White House physician, Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, dropped his bid Thursday to head the country's Veterans Affairs agency as lawmakers probed allegations of professional misconduct and excessive drinking.
As he withdrew, Jackson described the attacks on him as "false allegations," but said they had "become a distraction" to President Donald Trump's effort to improve health care for U.S. veterans.
Trump, in an interview on his favorite news talk show, "Fox & Friends," continued to defend Jackson, his personal physician, saying, "He runs a fantastic operation."
Trump blamed Senator Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat, for the demise of Jackson's nomination to the Cabinet position.
The U.S. leader said he now has "somebody with a political background" in mind to name as a replacement for Jackson to head the Veterans Affairs agency.
Trump said in the Fox interview he had told Jackson "a day or two ago I saw where this was going," but had left it up to Jackson to decide whether to do so.
Jackson was fast losing support in Congress.
Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers indefinitely postponed Jackson's scheduled Wednesday confirmation hearing as they investigated the allegations.
EPA Chief Tells Angry Lawmakers He Has "Nothing to Hide"
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt told lawmakers who are angry about allegations of ethics and spending missteps during his tenure he had "nothing to hide" and added the accusations are meant to derail President Donald Trump's agenda.
"Let me be very clear: I have nothing to hide as it relates to how I've run the agency for the past 16 months," Pruitt told a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Pruitt added, "Those who attack the EPA and attack me are doing so because they want to attack and derail the president's agenda and undermine this administration's priorities. I'm simply not going to let that happen."
Legislators from both the Republican and Democratic parties lashed out at Pruitt. Democrat Frank Pallone told Pruitt, "You should resign and you are undeserving of public trust."
Pruitt went before two House of Representatives subcommittees for hearings about the agency's budget, and lawmakers sought answers about his spending on first-class air travel, his security detail and a lease of a room in Washington.