Over the past week, the left and people attempting to damage the Trump administration by attacking Trump’s nominee to head the Department of Veterans Affairs, undertook a vicious campaign of character assassination that ultimately resulted in Dr. Ronny Jackson withdrawing his nomination.
To be fair, the VA is a troubled and failing agency and Dr. Jackson needed a thoroughgoing confirmation hearing to ensure he was up for the job. The objection that he didn’t have the experience to run the VA is sort of belied by the people who have run it in the past. In fact, the only two guys who ever had the “large organization experience” that is supposed to be needed–Eric Shinseki, a former chief of staff of the US Army, and Bob McDonald, a former president and CEO of Proctor and Gamble–presided over monumental institutional failings
The Washington Post, helpfully, provides a list of the allegations. To date, not a single one of the allegations has been supported by a single bit of evidence. And at least one has been conclusively denied.
The breakpoint was probably the allegation highlighted by Montana Senator Jon Tester. Tester alleged, again without a shred of evidence, that Jackson had wrecked a car while drunk. The Secret Service has responded to this allegation and others but it simply wasn’t enough to stem the tide.
Now that there is no longer a nomination or a hearing, Jackson is deprived of a public venue to clear his name and to make his accusers present credible evidence of their claims.
This is not just a perfect storm of happenstance. Jackson is probably more “vetted” than any nominee. He has daily access to the president and White House. He is under daily scrutiny by the Secret Service…and, it seems, by his enemies. The military Inspector General system mandates investigations of all allegations of misconduct against general or flag officers so had any of these claims been raised within the system they would have been investigated. This leads one to one of two fact sets. Either they were investigated and Jackson was cleared and now the complainant is attempting to get a second bite at the apple. Or, they never made a complaint, which calls into question, why now?
And there was definitely an element of petty vindictiveness involved. When Trump had his first physical, the official weigh-in placed him in the “overweight” rather than “obese” category. And much of the visceral Trump opposition never forgot nor forgave.
If Ronny Jackson is run out of DC, I hope the last thing he yells from the moving car is Trump’s actual weight.
— shauna (@goldengateblond) April 26, 2018
Ronny Jackson bows out but will remain WH physician and continue to lie to us about Trump’s weight and health ? https://t.co/qlQ4ovlwDu
— Amy Siskind (@Amy_Siskind) April 26, 2018
More importantly, it underscores the lengths to which the Democrats and the opponents of Trump who flogged these rumors as fact will go in order to damage and defeat nominations. With that ferocity comes as a side effect. Often men and women who have served in responsible positions have acquired enemies. The standard now is that alleging misconduct is indistinguishable from having committed misconduct. What sane person is going to permit themselves to be trashed like this to get a job that, relatively speaking, doesn’t pay all that well and makes you a perpetual target?
When Ronald Reagan’s Labor Secretary, Ray Donovan, was acquitted on trumped up charges of corruption, he had this to say:
”It’s a cruel thing they did to me,” Mr. Donovan said as he left the courthouse in the South Bronx with his arm wrapped around his wife, Catherine, as they prepared to return to their home in Short Hills, N.J.
”After two and half years, this nightmare is behind us,” the 56-year-old Mr. Donovan said earlier in an impromptu news conference in the corridor just outside the courtroom. ”The jury has reawakened my faith in our system of justice. It was shattered here for nine months.
”The question is, should this indictment have ever been brought? Which office do I go to to get my reputation back? Who will reimburse my company for the economic jail it has been in for two and a half years?”
“Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?” Rear Admiral Dr. Ronny Jackson is probably asking the same question.