The Department of Defense inspector general released a report Wednesday that concluded that Congressman Ronny Jackson of Texas “disparaged, belittled, bullied, and humiliated” subordinates and “fostered a negative work environment by failing to treat subordinates with dignity and respect” during his tenure as the head White House doctor.
The report, which was based on complaints and interviews with 60 witnesses who worked in the White House Medical Unit, also found that Jackson used the prescription drug Ambien, a sleep medication, while on “long official overseas flights” and also “engaged in inappropriate conduct involving the use of alcohol” during two presidential trips, one to Manila, Philippines, in April 2014 and another to Bariloche, Argentina, in March 2016.
The retired Navy rear admiral served as physician to the president from 2013 to 2018 under former presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump. He previously worked in the White House Medical Unit under former president George W. Bush.
A major aspect of the report was focused on how Jackson treated subordinates under his leadership.
The report reads:
The overwhelming majority of witnesses (56) we interviewed who worked with RDML Jackson from 2012 through 2018 told us they personally experienced, saw, or heard about him yelling, screaming, cursing, or belittling subordinates. Many of these witnesses described RDML Jackson’s behavior with words and phrases such as “meltdowns,” “yells for no reason,” “rages,” “tantrums,” “lashes out,” and “aggressive.” These witnesses also described RDML Jackson’s leadership style with terms such as “tyrant,” “dictator,” “control freak,” “hallmarks of fear and intimidation,” “crappy manager,” and “not a leader at all.”
During an official trip to Asia in April 2014, witnesses claimed to have seen Jackson drinking and making inappropriate comments about a female subordinate.
“Manila Witness 1, a medical subordinate, told us that during the Asia trip, before arriving in Manila, RDML Jackson told him a female medical subordinate (Manila Witness 2), who was also on the trip, had “great t**s,” and “what a nice a**,” and that RDML Jackson also told Manila Witness 1 that he would “like to see more of her tattoos,” the report said.
The same female subordinate told investigators that Jackson knocked on her door late at night, seemingly under the influence of alcohol, and told her, “I need you” and “I need you to come to my room.”
Complaints against Jackson first arose back in 2018 after Trump nominated Jackson to be his secretary of Veteran Affairs.
Senator Jon Tester of Montana, then ranking member of the Senate Veteran Affairs Committee, released a list of allegations that were made against Jackson by former and current colleagues. The claims included drunkenness while on duty, overprescribing medications, and promoting a hostile work environment.
Jackson was elected to Congress in 2020 after winning a runoff election in the Republican primary and defeating his Democratic challenger in the general.
Trump threw his support behind his former doctor’s bid for office, tweeting back in February 2020, “Ronny is strong on Crime and Borders, GREAT for our Military and Vets, and will protect your #2A.”
In a statement to CNN, Jackson said, “Democrats are using this report to repeat and rehash untrue attacks on my integrity.”
He added, “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.”