Texas congressman engaged in ‘inappropriate conduct' as White House doctor, probe finds

Ronny Jackson
Posted at 10:16 AM, Mar 03, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. — While serving as the top White House physician, Rep. Ronny Jackson made “sexual and denigrating” comments about a female subordinate, violated the policy of drinking on a presidential trip, and raised concerns about his capacity to provide care by taking Ambien during official travel, according to a report issued by the Department of Defense inspector general.

The report released Wednesday is the result of a years-long investigation that was initiated after 12 complaints were made between April and June of 2018.

In addition to allegations above, Jackson, who is now a Republican congressman serving the state of Texas, is accused of failing to “foster and maintain a healthy command climate” in the White House Medical Unit, a DoD unit tasked with providing medical support to the president and staff. He allegedly failed to treat his subordinates with dignity and respect.

Specifically, the investigation concluded that Jackson engaged in "inappropriate conduct" involving the use of alcohol during two incidents, both of which occurred during presidential trips where he was in charge of providing medical care. Those trips were to Manila, Philippines, in April 2014 and Bariloche, Argentina, in March 2016.

“We concluded that RDML Jackson’s overall course of conduct toward subordinates disparaged, belittled, bullied, and humiliated them, and fostered a negative work environment by failing to treat subordinates with dignity and respect,” the report says. “We also concluded that RDML Jackson failed to conduct himself in an exemplary manner in his treatment of subordinates throughout his tenure at WHMU. His treatment of subordinates created a negative work environment that witnesses said made an unfavorable impact on the overall command climate.”

Jackson was also accused of wrecking a government vehicle while intoxicated, but the report says no evidence was found to support that allegation. Also, no evidence was found to support an allegation that Jackson expected rum or other alcohol to be stocked in his lodging room while on official travel or that staff feared retribution if they did not comply with that expectation.

In the report, officials recommend that the Secretary of the Navy “take appropriate action” regarding Jackson. The congressman retired from the Navy in 2019 while the investigation was ongoing. However, two defense officials told CNN that he could now face a Navy review of his retirement pay.

Additionally, they’re recommending that the White House Military Office director “issue fitness for duty guidance regarding the appropriate use of Ambien and similar drugs while medical personnel are on duty or on call to provide emergency medical services.”

In a statement released to NBC News and CNN, which was first to report on the IG report, Jackson denied the allegations made against him and claimed Democrats were using the report to “repeat and rehash untrue attacks” on his integrity.

"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," wrote Jackson in his statement. "I also categorically deny any implication that I was in any way sexually inappropriate at work, outside of work, or anywhere with any member of my staff or anyone else. That is not me and what is alleged did not happen."