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He was really looking forward to his very own travel scandal, too


Looks like big trouble for the nomination of Donald Trump's pick to head the Department of Veterans Affairs, Dr. Ronny Spaceman Jackson. Last night, the Washington Post broke the story that the Senate was delaying -- maybe permanently? -- Jackson's confirmation hearing, which had been set for Wednesday.

But why? Everyone knew from the start Jackson hadn't had any experience running a large organization, so he was kind of a stupid choice to lead the second largest agency in the federal government. The WaPo story was remarkably vague about all that, saying only that unnamed "White House and other administration officials" had been informed by senators that "In recent days, fresh concerns arose about Jackson’s management of the White House medical office," although the sources refused to go into detail. What concerns? Very concerning ones, no doubt. How about members of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs? Any details there? Not so much:

“I can tell you we’re vetting out Jackson,” said Sen. Jon Tester (Mont.), the committee’s ranking Democrat. “I can’t get into specifics, but we’re doing our job to make sure he’s fit for the job.”

Aides to committee Chairman Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) declined to comment.

Another member of the committee, Kansas Republican Jerry Moran, only wanted to talk about Jackson's "qualifications" for the job, which under any normal president would have been plenty to sink his nomination:

“This job is so difficult,” Moran said Monday. “Nothing about this is easy, and it takes a very unique person to be able to lead an organization that is so difficult to lead, and I need to be convinced that’s the case regardless of the sense of his experience.”

The Wapo story added that the White House is "assessing whether questions that have been raised about Jackson have validity," which isn't exactly a festival of specifics.

For its part, CNN was also annoyingly vague, saying only that both Republican and Democratic senators were looking into "allegations related to improper conduct in various stages of [Jackson's] career" and attempting to determine whether there's any substance to them.

At least CBS News seems to have found some more talkative insiders who say Tester and his staff are looking into stories that originated with "current and former White House medical staff":

Sources familiar with the tales say Sen. Jon Tester's committee staff is reviewing multiple allegations of a "hostile work environment." The accusations include "excessive drinking on the job, improperly dispensing meds," said one of the people familiar, who was granted anonymity to speak frankly about the situation. The other people familiar with the stories also confirmed those details.

If proven true, "it'll sink his nomination," said one of the sources.

Excessive drinking on the job and improper dispensing of meds? Damn, the Trump administration really is doing its best to emulate Richard Nixon. (Yes, yes, we remember: Dr. Jackson was our Bamz's White House doc too.) Yr Wonkette won't be the least bit surprised if we learn there's even more to this -- did that "hostile work environment" include sexual harassment, or possibly the doctor sleeping with a staffer and then going Full Asshole when he or she broke it off? We are simply doing the most responsible wild speculation here, for you, the reader. What if Jackson was dating Rob Porter, too? (To be fair, we should note that until February, "a date with Rob Porter" was a standard feature of Washington tours.)

For some perspective on this, we'll close with the ever-reliable Chris Cillizza, who explains that the apparent implosion of Jackson's nomination "was entirely predictable," even though he didn't actually predict it. But we're inclined to give him this one, if only because Donald Trump making terrible appointments really is the norm; the only real variable is the details of what makes them terrible.

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[WaPo / CBS News / CNN]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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