Surprise, surprise: the White House has withdrawn Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson from consideration to head the Department of Veterans Affairs.
From the moment that President Trump nominated his personal physician to head the VA, Jackson faced major opposition based on his spectacular lack of the experience necessary to run such a large, complicated, and screwed-up agency. But that objection was soon drowned out by the outcry over the record Jackson did supposedly have: a record for dispensing unprescribed prescriptions, sexually harassing women, and passing out drunk on the job.
If puerile precedent holds, the matter will now pretty much drop. Jackson will fade from the headlines, but his reputation as an inebriated lech and pill pusher will follow him forever. Nonetheless, he will continue as a highly ranked naval officer and the president’s doctor, and no one will much care anymore.
Talk about “normalization” of a rank absurdity.
If the allegations against Jackson are remotely true, he deserves to be fired and, very possibly, prosecuted. As important, serious punishment must befall any officials who greenlit, then failed to revoke, his access to and ultimate responsibility for three U.S. presidents.
If, as he continues to insist in the most emphatic terms, the allegations are untrue, Jackson deserves to be vindicated, and the public should demand an explanation as to what the hell just happened.
Not that it’s never happened before. Au contraire. Damning personal accusations have never properly been a function of politics. But long before Donald Trump dreamt of becoming president, it had become a Congressional-confirmation commonplace to treat them as such.
That is terribly, terribly wrong – no matter whose nominee Jackson is, or rather, was.