Speed Reads


Mike Pence's doctor warned the White House about Ronny Jackson last fall

In September, Vice President Mike Pence's wife, Karen Pence, was rushed to Walter Reed hospital from Camp David, and White House physician Ronny Jackson inappropriately intervened in such a way that he potentially violated federal privacy laws, Pence's physician told White House officials, according to three memos shared with CNN. Pence's doctor said an irate Jackson confronted him after he had raised his concerns with White House officials, including White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, and Jackson's intimidation and unprofessional behavior made him so "uncomfortable" he considered resigning to avoid having to work with him.

Jackson withdrew his name from consideration to be President Trump's veterans affairs secretary after the Senate unearthed allegations that he had created a hostile work environment, drank on the job, and freely dispensed prescription drugs — all of which Jackson denies. Jackson will stay on staff at the White House medical unit but no longer be Trump's physician.

The White House has strenuously defended Jackson and insists he was thoroughly vetted, but Trump "stunned some of his most senior aides when he told them in the Oval Office on a Monday in March that he might select his personal doctor to lead Veterans Affairs," The Washington Post reports, adding:

At the time, the department's embattled secretary, David Shulkin, was still on the job, and officials said that neither Trump nor his team had conducted an even cursory interview with Jackson. Aides urged the president to delay the announcement, but two days later, he shared his new VA pick on Twitter. ... A White House official acknowledged that Jackson's FBI background investigation was not completed until after Trump had already revealed on Twitter that Jackson was his pick. [The Washington Post]

You can read more about Trump's unusually personal and unilateral vetting process at The Washington Post and more about Pence's doctor's warning at CNN.