SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
The White House says it has evidence to refute the most serious allegations that have been leveled against Dr. Ronny Jackson. Dr. Jackson is Donald Trump's personal physician in the White House. The president had nominated him to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. Late this week, Dr. Jackson pulled out of consideration after allegations surfaced about his workplace behavior. NPR's White House reporter Ayesha Rascoe joins us. Ayesha, thanks so much for being with us.
AYESHA RASCOE, BYLINE: Thanks for having me.
SIMON: And remind us once more at the end of a busy week why this nomination had to be withdrawn.
RASCOE: Well, after Jackson was nominated, all of these allegations began to surface with the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. The top Democrat on the committee, Senator Jon Tester of Montana, he released a summary of those allegations. He said the accusations came from a couple dozen current and former military members who had worked with Jackson. So some of the most serious accusations included that Jackson wrecked a government vehicle while driving drunk after a going away party, that he was reckless in dispensing prescription medication and that there were multiple incidents of him drinking on the job.
SIMON: But that might not be true.
RASCOE: Yes, so now - Jackson always maintained that he was innocent of these charges. And President Trump called the allegations false. He essentially called them a political hit job. Then yesterday, a White House official told me that the White House had looked into the accusations against Jackson and that they couldn't find any documents to back them up. The White House investigated the most serious charges, including the accusation about wrecking a car, and they found records that show Jackson had been involved in three accidents with a government vehicle but that he was not at fault in any of the accidents. They were minor, and they didn't involve alcohol and drugs.
On the charge of Jackson being reckless dispensing prescription medication, the officials said that there are regular audits of the White House medical office. And so they looked - they pulled records from the past 2 1/2 years of these audits, and none of them found that drugs were being handed out against medical policy. In addition, the Secret Service put out a statement that they have found no evidence of this accusation that agents had had to intervene when Dr. Jackson was drunk overseas and banging on a hotel door.
SIMON: Or that he was drunk overseas and banging on a hotel door.
RASCOE: Yes. There was no - yeah, there was no evidence of that.
SIMON: The president tweeted this morning that Senator Tester ought to resign. This is - even though the Jackson nomination has been withdrawn, this is a political situation that doesn't seem to be going away.
RASCOE: No. The president is going all in in defending Jackson. Yesterday, he called Jackson an American hero. You even had Ivanka Trump earlier this week tweeting about how great Jackson is, and other White House officials are publicly singing his praises. Jackson is still on the job as the White House physician.
SIMON: And we should remind people he was also the White House physician under President Obama and President Bush.
RASCOE: Yes. And yes, so he was - so he has worked for - this is not his first administration. He's worked on prior administrations. So it's unclear what happens next. Senator Tester and the committee will have to provide some response, I would think, about why they went public with these allegations and why they felt they were credible.
SIMON: NPR's Ayesha Rascoe, thanks very much for being with us. See you again.
RASCOE: Thank you.
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