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White House defends VA pick amid misconduct allegations

Sarah Sanders
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders calls on reporters. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders defended Ronny Jackson, President Trump's pick to head the Veterans Affairs Department, saying that he has an "impeccable" record and has been vetted numerous times for various posts under previous administrations, which unearthed "no areas of concerns."

"Dr. Jackson's record as a White House physician has been impeccable. In fact, because Dr. Jackson has worked within arm's reach of 3 presidents he has received more vetting than most nominees... A very thorough investigation and vetting process has taken place."
— Sanders told reporters

Sanders said the White House will “certainly look into” allegations that Jackson drank excessively on the job, referring to the reports as “outrageous.” She said he’s highly qualified and respected in the medical and military communities.

  • Sanders added he has “undergone four separate background checks,” however, she didn’t say whether the current administration vet Jackson beyond the regular background check.

When asked about the latest ruling on DACA that concluded protections must stay in place, Sanders said the order was "extraordinarily broad," and that its "good news for smuggling organizations and criminal networks and horrible news for our national security."

Sanders declined to say whether the White House will disavow the president’s call for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the U.S.," in reference to the latest travel ban the Supreme Court heard Wednesday.

Pressed about the U.S. recent drop in press freedom ranks, Sanders defended the White House's relationship with the press saying, "we certainly would reject the idea that the president, this administration, has halted freedom of the press. I think we're one of the most accessible administrations that we've seen in decades.”