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President Donald Trump on Friday continued to fume over Ronny Jackson’s failed bid to become the next Veterans Affairs secretary, labeling the allegations that tanked Jackson’s nomination as false and politically motivated. He also praised Jackson, who has worked as a White House physician for 12 years, as an “American hero” for exposing what he described as maliciousness in Washington.
“I explained what happened, I explained that Washington can be a very mean place—you don’t know about that, Chancellor—a nasty place,” Trump said at a joint press conference alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “The false accusations that were made about him by Sen. Tester, from a great state—I don’t think that state is going to put up with it.” (Many watching on social media remarked on how visibly uncomfortable Merkel appeared throughout Trump’s response.)
The president continued by likening Jackson’s situation to his own scandal, the ongoing Russia investigations. He said: “I’ve had it happen to me with the Russian collusion hoax. But I came into the job understanding that things happen. He didn’t.”
Since they first emerged this week, Trump has repeatedly blasted the allegations of workplace misconduct surrounding Jackson, “the Candy Man,” which include accusations of drinking on the job and improperly giving out prescription drugs, as fabricated. He claims they are the work of Tester, the top Democrat on the Senate’s Veterans Affairs committee. Neither he nor the administration has provided any evidence to support that notion.
Jackson announced his decision to withdraw his nomination Thursday, also blasting the allegations against him as “false and fabricated.” Nearly a dozen current and former colleagues were cited in a two-page memo detailing some of the most explosive allegations against Jackson.