Saturday, April 28, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He attacked a senator for talking about the allegations that forced one of his failed nominees to withdraw.

Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson is Trump's official physician and, until this past week, his pick to lead the gigantic Department of Veterans Affairs. Jackson, who has no administrative experience and whose main qualification seemed to be his willingness to ramble on about Trump's health, had an uncertain future in the Senate even before allegations arose about his conduct. These allegations, made by 23 of Jackson's employees and military colleagues, included reports that he was frequently drunk on duty, that he handed out prescription stimulants and sedatives to staff without doing medical exams, and that he created a toxic work environment in the White House Medical Office.

Jackson withdrew Thursday, shortly after Montana Sen. John Tester, a Democrat, made public the nature of the allegations provided to the Senate committee responsible for reviewing the nomination.

Trump, who never offered any explanation for Jackson's nomination other than that he was a familiar face and wore a uniform, reacted badly to the loss of yet another unvetted nominee. Over the course of three tweets today, Trump claimed that Tester himself was making up the allegations, that it was "slander" to reveal what other military officers had said about Jackson, and that Tester's "dishonest and sick" claims were as bad as "phony Russian collusion."

Later, at a 2020 campaign rally, Trump claimed he had secret information on Tester, which, if he revealed it, would mean that Tester "would never be elected again."

Tester's role in making the charges known has been publicly supported by Republicans, including Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA).

Why does this matter?

  • It's wrong to blame other people for your mistakes.
  • Deciding who will run the VA is too important a decision to make on a whim.
  • Nobody really thinks Donald Trump is holding on to any secret information about a political opponent.