A short time ago, President Donald J. Trump was calling for the resignation of Montana’s Democratic Senator Jon Tester. The issue was the treatment of Trump’s nominee to head the Veterans’ Administration, Admiral Ronny Jackson. Senator Tester serves as the ranking member of the Senate Veteran’s Affairs Committee. That Senate committee is tasked with reviewing the qualifications of the nominee for that cabinet position left vacant with the firing by Trump of Dr. David Shulkin.
Admiral Jackson has since withdrawn his nomination in the midst of the controversy created when certain individuals raised allegations of misconduct on the part of Jackson who, quite famously, also served as the White House physician and has been in that position for the past three presidents.
Rather than try to capture the eloquence of the president’s tweet regarding his call for Senator Tester to resign, I will simply provide it for you here:
“Allegations made by Senator Jon Tester against Admiral/Doctor Ron Jackson are proving false. The Secret Service is unable to confirm (in fact they deny) any of the phony Democrat charges which have absolutely devastated the wonderful Jackson family. Tester should resign. The.....great people of Montana will not stand for this kind of slander when talking of a great human being. Admiral Jackson is the kind of man that those in Montana would most respect and admire, and now, for no reason whatsoever, his reputation has been shattered. Not fair, Tester!”
Now for a few observations: First, despite claims to the contrary by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Admiral Jackson was never properly vetted by the White House as is the usual case with White House nominees; see General Michael Flynn for just one example among many.
The White House claim that Admiral Jackson had passed previous background checks is quite true. However, since background checks usually go back some five years and must be regularly updated, one would think that any nomination to a cabinet position would warrant a more thorough and current vetting of the candidate and not rely on previous vetting by previous administrations.
Of course that is not the practice of this White House who relies more on whether the candidate has “said nice things about me.”
Quite clearly Admiral Jackson’s claim that Trump is in perfect health and, if he changed his eating habits, could live to 200 was enough flattery of the president to warrant his nomination. The admiral’s claim that Trump weighed a very hard-to-believe 239 pounds certainly did not hurt his chances. (NOTE: counting only one butt cheek, maybe; counting both butt cheeks, no way!)
Nor did it matter that Admiral Jackson had absolutely no experience managing anything approaching the size and complexity of the Veterans’ Administration which is second only to the Department of Defense as a federal government employer.
Regardless of Admiral Jackson’s qualifications, or lack thereof, for the position to which he was nominated, the issue here is the treatment of him in light of the allegations made regarding his personal conduct as a White House physician. Whether the allegations are true or not, whether those allegations are completely accurate or only partially accurate, whether they were made by concerned citizens or individuals with a vendetta against Admiral Jackson, once raised, the claims had to be investigated to determine their veracity.
That is how it is done; that is what the citizens of this democratic nation deserve. Collusion anyone?
Now, should the accusations have been better protected from public disclosure until such time that they were more fully investigated? Sure, I think that is fair. If, as Admiral Jackson claims, there is no truth to the accusations, then should Admiral Jackson have continued through the confirmation process? Sure, that, too, is fair.
Should Admiral Jackson have believed the president when Trump said the decision to continue was entirely Admiral Jackson’s? You’ve got to be kidding!
There should be little doubt that Trump, almost definitely, withdrew his support during the meeting the two had the night before Jackson withdrew his name for consideration.
More than Trump’s lack of vetting of his cabinet nominees, more than his lack of loyalty to those he nominates, more than anything else, the most difficult thing to stomach is his monumental hypocrisy. His expressed concern about the “shattered reputation” of the admiral makes my head spin.
Need I remind him of his long litany of personal attacks for purely political reasons, “Low energy Jeb,” “Little Marco,” “Pocahontas,” Crooked Hillary,” “Sleepy-eyed Chuck Todd,” “Crying Chuck Schumer,” “Lying Ted Cruz,” “Low I.Q. Maxine Waters,” and so on and so on?
A man who has no respect for anyone but himself attempts to defend the reputation of one of his nominees by, how you ask, attacking the reputation of Senator Jon Tester who has been committed throughout his career to do that which is best for our veterans.
The very first bill sponsored by Senator Tester to pass in the U.S. Senate successfully raised the veterans’ mileage reimbursement rate for the first time in decades. Since then, Senator Tester’s successful work for America’s veterans includes increasing veterans’ access to health care, reducing red tape in the benefits process, and creating more job opportunities for veterans. This administration should take a lesson from Senator Jon Tester when it comes to treatment of our veterans.
And now a quick word about Michelle Wolf and the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. It is about time someone held Sarah Huckabee Sanders accountable for her daily twisting of truth in the White House press room.
If you really want to hear crude and unfunny, listen to Trump’s remarks at the Al Smith dinner during the campaign. If Michelle Wolf made the Trump cadre cringe, then they now know the meaning of payback for all the insults Trump levels against anyone who doesn’t say nice things about him.
Having to listen to Sarah Huckabee Sanders constantly rail against the press in that press room while she owns the podium makes Michelle Wolf’s remarks at the podium during the dinner quite welcome and long overdue.
If the Trump legion had no problem with Trump mocking a disabled reporter then they should have no problem with Michelle Wolf mocking a disabled White House.