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Pentagon probe: Ex-White House doctor, now Texas Rep. Ronny Jackson, harassed staff

Jackson has denied the allegations from the Pentagon's internal investigation, claiming he was the victim of a 'political hit job.'
Credit: AP
U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, M.D. on Capitol Hill, Monday, April 16, 2018 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

A report by a Pentagon watchdog has accused former White House doctor Ronny Jackson, now the representative for the 13th congressional district in Texas, of bullying staff and drinking alcohol while working. 

The findings of the report released by the Department of Defense Inspector General claims Jackson made "sexual and denigrating" comments about women on his staff and violated a policy regarding consuming alcohol while on a presidential trip during his time at the White House. 

In one portion of the report, it outlines how staff expressed concern about his ability to provide proper medical care because he took a prescription-strength sleep aid, CNN reported

The report is the culmination of a years-long investigation into the now-freshman Texas congressman's time serving the administrations of Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump. In 2018, Jackson had been nominated by Trump to head up the Department of Veterans Affairs, but subsequently withdrew from consideration, as the Texas Tribune reports, amid allegations of misconduct on the job, including drinking and overprescribing prescription medication.  

In response to the investigation's findings, Rep. Jackson released a statement Tuesday to the Texas Tribune, calling the accusations “completely false and fabricated.” 

On Wednesday, the former White House physician also released a statement reported on by the Washington Post in which he said, “three years ago I was the subject of a political hit job because I stood with President Trump. Today, a Department of Defense Inspector General report has resurrected those same false allegations from my years with the Obama Administration because I have refused to turn my back on President Trump.” 

Pentagon watchdog investigators spoke with at least 78 witnesses and poured over White House documents and determined that then-Rear Admiral Jackson was not treating those under him with respect. The investigation claimed Jackson used alcohol while on duty during two incidents and said that he used sleeping medication during an overseas trip with the then-president and other officials for whom he was expected to provide medical care, a CNN report said. 

In one part of the report, witnesses told the inspector general that during a presidential trip to Manila, Philippines, in April of 2014, Jackson began drinking alcohol in the hotel lobby after arriving, and then is said to have gotten into a car while holding a drink to "go out on the town." 

Another part of the report claims Jackson commented on a female medical subordinate's chest and backside while on a presidential trip in Asia in April 2014. 

On another trip in Bariloche, Argentina, the report stated, the inspector general said that two witnesses stated they saw Jackson drinking a beer while he was on-duty serving as physician to the president and in charge of medical care for that trip.  

Regulations state that the physician for the president was supposed to cease consuming alcohol 24 hours before the president arrives, until two hours after the president departs from the trip. Witnesses say Jackson called the regulations "ridiculous." 

One of the witnesses recounted that they did not smell alcohol on Jackson during the Argentina trip. 

Jackson's work as a White House doctor began in the mid-2000s, after which he found himself named as top presidential physician in 2013 while he was a doctor to then-President Barack Obama, before serving as physician to President Donald Trump. Jackson was elected to represent Texas' 13th congressional district, in the north of the state, in November. 

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Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images
Physician to U.S. President Donald Trump Dr. Ronny Jackson speaks during the daily White House press briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House January 16, 2018 in Washington, DC.