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Former White House physician made sexual comments about female colleagues and drank while on call, report finds

Bill Bostock
·4 min read
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  • Ronny Jackson was the White House physician for six years of the Obama and Trump administrations.

  • A report obtained by CNN found Jackson made sexual remarks about female coworkers and drank on duty.

  • Jackson denied drinking on the job and suggested the Pentagon report was politically motivated.

  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Rep. Ronny Jackson of Texas made sexual remarks about a female junior employee and drank alcohol while on duty years ago as the top White House physician, according to an unpublished Pentagon report obtained by CNN.

The Defense Department's inspector general has been investigating Jackson since 2018, according to CNN. The report is expected to be released later Wednesday.

Jackson joined the White House Medical Unit during the George W. Bush administration, and he was elevated to be the top White House physician during the Obama and Trump administrations from 2012 to 2018.

White House physicians are typically brought in from the US Navy, where Jackson is a rear admiral, which is why the Defense Department is spearheading an investigation.

The report cited witnesses saying Jackson made sexual comments about female colleagues, verbally abused subordinates, and drank on the job, CNN said.

Of the 78 witnesses interviewed, 56 "personally experienced, saw, or heard about him yelling, screaming, cursing, or belittling subordinates," the report said, per CNN.

Words used to describe Jackson's behavior included "meltdowns," "rages," "tantrums," "lashes out," and "aggressive," the report said, according to CNN.

US President Barack Obama (L) talks with his physician Dr. Ronny Jackson, near Marine One after visiting troops at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center November 29, 2016 in Bethesda, Maryland. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Then-President Barack Obama with Jackson in Bethesda, Maryland, in November 2016. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

Witnesses also described Jackson's leadership style with terms like "tyrant," "dictator," "control freak," "hallmarks of fear and intimidation," and "crappy manager," the report said, per CNN.

The report also found that Jackson made "sexual and denigrating" comments toward a female employee.

In one example, during a presidential trip to Manila, Philippines, in April 2014, Jackson was seen by a witness "pounding" on the door of a female subordinate's room after returning from a suspected night of drinking, the report said, adding that Jackson was heard telling the woman "I need you to come to my room."

In another case, Jackson told a subordinate staffer that a female colleague of his had "great tits" and "a nice ass" and that he would like to see her tattoos, a witness told investigators, per CNN.

During another presidential trip to Bariloche, Argentina, in 2016, two witnesses told the investigators they saw Jackson drink a beer while he was on call, CNN said.

Jackson's colleagues also said they were concerned he had taken Ambien - a sleeping pill that can often result in drowsy side effects - to sleep on flights while on duty for the president, the report said.

According to CNN, the Pentagon report noted that it "was limited in scope" for some time because President Donald Trump's White House lawyers demanded to be present at all interviews with medical employees.

The report described their presence as having a "potential chilling effect," CNN said.

"Democrats are using this report to repeat and rehash untrue attacks on my integrity," Jackson said in a statement to CNN.

"I'm proud of the work environment I fostered under three different presidents of both parties; I take my professional responsibility with respect to prescription-drug practices seriously; and I flat-out reject any allegation that I consumed alcohol while on duty."

Trump nominated Jackson to head up the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2018 following his departure as White House physician, but Jackson pulled out when allegations about his drinking and comments surfaced in April 2018.

During the Trump presidency, Jackson made headlines when he said he mixed cauliflower into the president's mashed potatoes in a subtle attempt to get him to eat more vegetables.

Jackson told The New York Times at the time that he had tried with varied success to help Trump lose weight.

"The exercise stuff never took off as much as I wanted it to," he said. "But we were working on his diet. We were making the ice cream less accessible, we were putting cauliflower into the mashed potatoes."

Read the original article on Business Insider