Apr 25, 2018

White House defends VA pick amid misconduct allegations

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.”

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 1,252,265 — Total deaths: 68,413 — Total recoveries: 258,495Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 325,185 — Total deaths: 9.267 — Total recoveries: 16,820Map.
  3. Public health latest: CDC launches national trackers and recommends face coverings in public. Federal government will cover costs of COVID-19 treatment for uninsured. Surgeon general says this week will be "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment."
  4. 2020 latest: "We have no contingency plan," Trump said on the 2020 Republican National Convention. Biden says DNC may have to hold virtual convention.
  5. States updates: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state is "literally going day-to-day" with supplies.
  6. Work update: Queen Elizabeth II urges the British people to confront pandemic with "self-discipline" and "resolve" in rare televised address.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Queen Elizabeth addresses U.K. amid coronavirus crisis: "We will meet again"

In a rare televised address on Sunday, Queen Elizabeth II urged the United Kingdom to respond to the coronavirus pandemic with the "self-discipline" and "resolve" that have defined the British people in moments of crisis.

Why it matters: It's just the fifth time that the queen, who traditionally speaks to the nation once a year on Christmas Day, has addressed the British people in this way during her 68-year reign.

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Cuomo says New York is "literally going day-to-day with our supplies"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a press conference on Sunday that New York is struggling to maintain medical supplies while combatting the novel coronavirus — operating "literally" on a "day-to-day" basis.

Why it matters: New York City has become an epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, facing mass quarantines and stay-at-home orders. Cuomo said Saturday that New York reported 630 new deaths in 24 hours — an "all-time increase" that beat the previous day's record of 562 deaths.