|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Texas's 13th district
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2021
|Preceded by||Mac Thornberry|
|1st Chief Medical Advisor to the President|
February 2, 2019 – December 1, 2019
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Anthony Fauci|
|Physician to the President|
July 25, 2013 – March 28, 2018
|Preceded by||Jeffrey Kuhlman|
|Succeeded by||Sean Conley|
Ronny Lynn Jackson
May 4, 1967
Levelland, Texas, U.S.
|Education||Texas A&M University (BS)|
University of Texas Medical Branch (MD)
|Branch/service||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1995–2019|
|Rank||Rear Admiral (lower half)|
|Awards||Defense Superior Service Medal|
Legion of Merit
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (4)
Jackson joined the White House Medical Unit in the mid-2000s under George W. Bush, and served as Physician to the President from 2013 to 2018 under Barack Obama and Donald Trump. On March 28, 2018, Trump nominated Jackson to be United States secretary of veterans affairs to succeed David Shulkin. On April 23, 2018, allegations of misconduct and mismanagement during his service in the White House were publicized. The administration disputed the allegations. Concern was also expressed about Jackson's lack of management experience. On April 26, 2018, Jackson withdrew his nomination as Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
On February 2, 2019, Trump appointed Jackson Assistant to the President and Chief Medical Advisor, a new position in the Executive Office. Jackson retired from the Navy on December 1, 2019, and on December 9, he filed to run for Congress in Texas's 13th congressional district. Placing second in the Republican primary, he won a runoff for the nomination and the November 3 general election.
On March 2, 2021, the Inspector General of the Department of Defense briefed members of Congress on its review of Jackson that was initiated in 2018. Its report documented Jackson's inappropriate interactions with subordinates and abuse of sleeping tablets and alcohol.
Jackson was born to Waymon and Norma Jackson and raised in Levelland, Texas. He has a brother and a sister who still live and work in Levelland. He attended Texas A&M University at Galveston, graduating in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science degree in marine biology. He attended medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch, receiving his MD degree in 1995.
Jackson became a Navy officer in 1995, when he received his M.D. from the University of Texas Medical Branch. He graduated from the Undersea Medical Officer Program in 1996. Jackson had a series of operational postings, as officer-in-charge and diving medical officer at Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 8 at the naval base in Sigonella, Sicily and diving safety officer at the Naval Safety Center in Norfolk, Virginia. In 2001, he started a residency in emergency medicine, which he completed in 2004. He was clinical faculty physician in the Emergency Medical Residency Program in Portsmouth, Virginia for an additional year before being deployed to Iraq in 2005, where he worked as emergency medicine physician with a surgical shock trauma platoon in Taqaddum.
In June 2006, Jackson became a physician in the White House Medical Unit (WHMU), ultimately working under three presidents. He became WHMU director in May 2010, and in July 2013 was given the additional title of Physician to the President. In December 2014, Jackson's duties as WHMU director ended, but he continued to be Physician to the President. In January 2017, Jackson made headlines after treating a girl who was bitten by Sunny, one of the Obamas' dogs.
Jackson continued to be Physician to the President during the Donald Trump administration. Upon taking office, Trump gave Jackson the additional title of Deputy Assistant to the President. Jackson became close to Trump after delivering an hourlong press conference in which he gave a glowing assessment of Trump's health, praising Trump's "incredibly good genes" and his performance on a cognitive test ("exceedingly well") and claiming that "if he had a healthier diet over the last 20 years, he might live to be 200 years old." Jackson was criticized for the statements and accused of misstating Trump's height and weight in order to minimize his obesity. Trump appointed Jackson "Assistant to the President and Chief Medical Advisor" on February 2, 2019.
Jackson held the rank of captain from May 1, 2010, to October 1, 2016, when he was promoted to rear admiral (lower half). Jackson was nominated to the rank of rear admiral (upper half) on March 20, 2018, but retired at the lower half rank.
Nomination as Secretary of Veterans Affairs
On March 28, 2018, Trump announced that he planned to nominate Jackson to succeed David Shulkin as Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Some senators expressed skepticism of the nomination due to Jackson's lack of management experience.
On April 23, 2018, the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs postponed a hearing on Jackson's nomination after current and former White House medical staff accused him of creating a hostile work environment, excessive drinking on the job, and dispensing medication improperly. Senator Jon Tester told CNN on April 24 that Jackson was known as "the candy man" at the White House, according to around 20 people who brought these concerns to the Veterans' Affairs Senate Committee, because he allegedly handed out Ambien, Provigil, and other prescription drugs "like they were candy". CNN also reported that during an overseas trip in 2015, an intoxicated Jackson loudly knocked on a female employee's hotel room door so noisily that the Secret Service reportedly stopped him to prevent him potentially waking up Obama. In response to the CNN story, ABC News reported that the Secret Service had no records of any incidents involving Jackson causing commotions at hotels in 2015 when Secret Service personnel were guarding Obama. Trump responded during a news conference the next day, calling Jackson "one of the finest people that I have met" but also hinting that Jackson might drop out, while blaming Democrats for mounting an unfair attack on his record.
The 115th Congress returned this nomination to Trump on January 3, 2019, without considering it in the Senate Committee on Armed Services. Trump resubmitted the nomination to the 116th Congress on January 15, 2019, but it was returned without consideration to Trump on January 3, 2020, after Jackson's retirement.
Jackson withdrew himself from consideration for Secretary of Veterans Affairs on April 26, 2018, after the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs began formally investigating the allegations. He insisted that the allegations were "completely false and fabricated" and said he was withdrawing because the controversy had become a distraction for Trump and his agenda. Jackson returned to work in the White House Medical Unit but did not return to his position as Trump's personal physician; he was replaced in that position by Navy officer Sean Conley, who took over that role a month earlier in acting capacity.
Jackson retired from the Navy on December 1, 2019.
Inspector General investigation and report
In May 2018, after receiving 12 complaints about Jackson's conduct, the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General (OIG) opened an investigation. The investigation stalled from October 2018 to August 2019 because the Trump White House Counsel's Office objected to the investigation and considered invoking executive privilege, but ultimately did not.
OIG investigators interviewed Jackson and 78 witnesses. The OIG found that its interview of Jackson "was limited in scope and unproductive" because lawyers in the Trump White House Counsel's office insisted upon participating in the interview and "instructed Jackson not to answer any questions concerning events after his appointment as the Physician to the President in July 2013." The OIG report was issued in March 2021.
The OIG concluded, by a preponderance of the evidence, that Jackson had "made sexual and denigrating statements about one of his female medical subordinates to another of his subordinates"; that Jackson "drank alcohol with his subordinates in Manila, became intoxicated, and, while in his hotel room, engaged in behavior that witnesses described as screaming and yelling, and behavior that some complained might wake the President"; and that Jackson took Ambien (a sleep medication) during official travel, "raising concerns about his potential incapacity to provide proper medical care during this travel." In addition to findings that Jackson had "engaged in inappropriate conduct involving the use of alcohol" during two presidential trips, the report also found that he "disparaged, belittled, bullied, and humiliated subordinates"; "created a negative WHMU work environment"; and "failed to conduct himself in an exemplary manner and made an unfavorable impact on the overall WHMU command climate."
U.S. House of Representatives
On December 9, 2019, Jackson filed to run for Congress in Texas's 13th congressional district. The seat came open when 13-term incumbent Republican Mac Thornberry announced he would not seek reelection in 2020. Jackson finished in second place in the Republican primary–the real contest in this heavily Republican district–behind former Texas Cattle Feeders Association lobbyist Josh Winegarner, and the two faced off in a July 14 runoff election for the nomination. Jackson defeated Winegarner, 55.58% to 44.42%. According to The New York Times, Jackson "ran a campaign based on his close relationship with President Trump." He leveraged that relationship to obtain assistance from two top officials with Trump's reelection campaign, Justin Clark and Bill Stepien.
In May 2020, Jackson argued that Obama had spied on the Trump campaign, and accused him of "[weaponizing] the highest levels of our government to spy on President Trump." Jackson added, "Every Deep State traitor deserves to be brought to justice for their heinous actions."
Jackson opposes face mask mandates to halt the spread of COVID-19. He has said, "I think that wearing a mask is a personal choice, and I don't particularly want my government telling me that I have to wear a mask."
As expected, Jackson won the general election, taking 79.4% of the vote to Democratic nominee Gus Trujillo's 18.5%. Since Thornberry was elected in the 1994 Republican wave, no Democrat has crossed the 40% mark in the district, and only three have managed 30%.
During the certification of the 2020 election, Jackson objected to the results of Arizona and Pennsylvania.
In late February 2021, Jackson and a dozen other Republican House members skipped votes and enlisted others to vote for them, citing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. But he and the other members were actually attending the Conservative Political Action Conference, which was held at the same time as their absences. In response, the Campaign for Accountability, an ethics watchdog group, filed a complaint with the House Committee on Ethics and requested an investigation into Jackson and the other lawmakers.
Jackson has a wife, Jane, and three children.
Awards and decorations
Jackson's decorations, awards, and badges include, among others:
- Bowman, Bridget (November 8, 2019). "Former VA nominee Ronny Jackson eyes run for Congress". Roll Call. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
- Scott, Dylan (February 2, 2017). "Trump is keeping Obama's White House doctor for now". STAT. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- Rein, Lisa; Rucker, Philip; Wax-Thibodeaux, Emily; Dawsey, Josh (March 29, 2018). "Trump taps his doctor to replace Shulkin at VA, choosing personal chemistry over traditional qualifications". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
- Ballhaus, Rebecca; Kesling, Ben (March 28, 2018). "Donald Trump Ousts VA Secretary David Shulkin". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
- "PN1847 - Nomination of Ronny Lynn Jackson for Department of Veterans Affairs, 115th Congress (2017-2018)". Congress.gov. Library of Congress. June 20, 2018. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
- Raju, Manu (May 1, 2018). "Pence's doctor alerted WH aides about Ronny Jackson concerns last fall". CNN. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
- Hensley, Nicole (May 1, 2018). "Pence's doctor accused Ronny Jackson of misconduct while treating second lady". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
- Porter, Tom (April 30, 2018). "Ronny Jackson will not return as Trump's physician following drunkenness and misconduct allegations". Newsweek. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
- Khan, Mariam (April 27, 2018). "Secret Service disputes allegation against Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson". ABC News. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
- Shear, Michael D. (April 27, 2018). "White House Says Records Don't Match Accusation Against Jackson". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
- Kim, Seung Min (April 1, 2018). "Senate Republicans express concerns about Trump's choice to lead Veterans Affairs". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
- Korade, Matt (April 30, 2018). "Ronny Jackson will not return as Trump's physician, Politico reports". CNN. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
- Rhodan, Maya (April 30, 2018). "White House: Ronny Jackson Is Not Leaving His Post". Time. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
- "President Donald J. Trump Announces Appointments for the Executive Office of the President". whitehouse.gov. February 2, 2019. Retrieved February 3, 2019 – via National Archives.
- Starr, Barbara (December 3, 2019). "Trump's former physician retires from Navy". CNN. Retrieved December 10, 2019.
- Shepard, Steven; Arkin, James (July 15, 2020). "Takeaways from Tuesday's primaries". Politico. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
- Raju, Manu (March 2, 2021). "Rep. Ronny Jackson made sexual comments, drank alcohol and took Ambien while working as White House physician, Pentagon watchdog finds". CNN. Retrieved March 2, 2021.
- Westbrook, Ray (January 26, 2018). "Presidents consult Rear Adm. Dr. Ronny Jackson, Levelland native". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
- Gromelski, Joe (March 29, 2018). "Scandal-wounded Shulkin cites fight over privatization as factor in ouster". Stars and Stripes. Centreville, VA. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
- "Report of Investigation: Rear Admiral (Lower Half) Ronny Lynn Jackson, M.D. U.S. Navy, Retired (DODIG-2021-057)]" (PDF). Department of Defense Office of Inspector General. March 3, 2021.
- Karni, Annie (February 24, 2020). "Trump's Doctor Thought He Had a Ticket to Congress. It Hasn't Been So Easy". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 26, 2020.
- Blake, Aaron (March 29, 2018). "Analysis: Who is Trump's new Veterans Affairs pick, Ronny Jackson?". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved March 29, 2018.
- Fuster, Jeremy (January 12, 2017). "Presidential Dog Bite: Sunny Injures a White House Guest". TheWrap. Retrieved March 29, 2018.
- Kutner, Max (January 12, 2018). "Who is Trump's doctor, White House physician Ronny Jackson?". Newsweek. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- Samuels, Brett (January 16, 2018). "WH doctor credits 'good genes' for Trump's excellent health despite fast food diet". The Hills. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
- Bieler, Des (January 16, 2018). "Doctor says Trump is 6-3, 239 pounds, and the Internet has so many athlete comparisons". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
- Merica, Dan (March 23, 2018). "The President's doctor is getting promoted". CNN. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
- Fandos, Nicholas; Haberman, Maggie (March 28, 2018). "Veterans Affairs Secretary Is Latest to Go as Trump Shakes Up Cabinet". The New York Times. Retrieved March 29, 2018.
- Holland, Steve (March 29, 2018). "Trump pushes out Shulkin at VA, nominates Jackson as replacement". Reuters. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
- Kim, Seung Min; Rein, Lisa; Dawsey, Josh (April 23, 2018). "Senate to postpone confirmation hearing for Ronny Jackson to head Veterans Affairs, White House officials told". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
- Fandos, Nicholas; Shear, Michael D. (April 24, 2018). "After Trump Hints V.A. Nominee Might Drop Out, an Aggressive Show of Support". The New York Times. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
- Tatum, Sophie (April 24, 2018). "Sen. Tester: VA nominee handed out prescriptions 'like candy'". CNN. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
- Jacobs, Ben (April 25, 2018). "Ronny Jackson crashed car while drunk and mishandled drugs, document claims". The Guardian.
- Summers, Juana; Raju, Manu (April 25, 2018). "VA nominee drunkenly banged on female employee's door during trip, sources say". CNN. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
- Khan, Mariam (April 27, 2018). "Secret Service disputes allegation against Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson". ABC News. Retrieved April 1, 2021.
- "PN1764 — Rear Adm. (lh) Ronny L. Jackson — Navy". U.S. Congress. January 3, 2019. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
- "PN30 — Rear Adm. (lh) Ronny L. Jackson — Navy". U.S. Congress. January 15, 2019. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
- Holland, Steve; Rampton, Roberta (April 26, 2018). "White House doctor steps back from Trump veterans job after controversy". Reuters. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
- Foran, Clare; Summers, Juana; Diamond, Jeremy (April 26, 2018). "Ronny Jackson withdraws as VA secretary nominee". CNN. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
- Johnson, Eliana (April 29, 2018). "Ronny Jackson won't return to old job as Trump's physician". Politico. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
- Read: The Department of Defense inspector general's report on the conduct of Rep. Ronny Jackson, CNN (March 4, 2021)
- Eleanor Watson, Pentagon watchdog says former White House physician bullied staff and drank recklessly on official trips, CBS News (March 4, 2021).
- Edmondson, Catie (March 3, 2021). "Watchdog finds G.O.P. congressman harassed staff and recklessly drank while serving as White House physician". The New York Times.
- Chapell, Bill (March 3, 2021). "Ronny Jackson 'Bullied' Subordinates And Broke Alcohol Rules, Pentagon Report Finds". NPR. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
- Mitchell Ferman, Pentagon review says U.S. Rep. Ronny Jackson made sexual comments, violated alcohol policy while White House physician, CNN reports, Texas Tribune (March 2, 2021).
- Brice-Saddler, Michael (December 9, 2019). "Ex-White House doctor allegedly known as 'Candyman' is running for Congress in Texas". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
- Allassan, Fadel (December 9, 2019). "Former White House doctor Ronny Jackson running for Congress". Axios. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
- Axelrod, Tal (March 4, 2020). "Former White House physician heading to runoff in Texas congressional race". The Hill. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
- Warren, Thomas (May 26, 2020). "Trump Tweets Support for Ronny Jackson". The Amarillo Pioneer. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
- Karni, Annie (July 14, 2020). "Ronny Jackson, Ex-White House Doctor, Wins Texas House Runoff". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
- Johnson, Martin (May 13, 2020). "Trump's ex-White House doctor accuses Obama of weaponizing 'highest levels' of government". The Hill. Retrieved May 14, 2020.
- Forgey, Quint (July 15, 2020). "Former Trump physician Ronny Jackson: 'Wearing a mask is a personal choice'". Politico. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
- Bash, Dana; Raju, Manu; Diaz, Daniella; Fox, Lauren; Warren, Michael (February 26, 2021). "More than a dozen Republicans tell House they can't attend votes due to 'public health emergency.' They're slated to be at CPAC". CNN. Retrieved March 10, 2021.
- Grayer, Annie; Diaz, Daniella (March 10, 2021). "First on CNN: Watchdog group requests investigation into 13 GOP lawmakers for misusing proxy voting". CNN. Retrieved March 10, 2021.
- Hulse, Carl (March 6, 2021). "After Stimulus Victory in Senate, Reality Sinks in: Bipartisanship Is Dead". The New York Times.
- LeBlanc, Paul (May 19, 2021). "Here are the 35 House Republicans who voted for the January 6 commission". CNN. Retrieved July 22, 2021.
- Grayer, Annie; Diaz, Danielle (June 16, 2021). "Congress passes bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday". CNN. Retrieved June 16, 2021.
- "Rep. Jackson Named to House Armed Services Committee". Congressman Ronny Jackson. January 25, 2021. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
- "HFF — Three New Endorsements". www.housefreedomfund.com. Retrieved February 28, 2021.
- "Member List". Republican Study Committee. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ronny L. Jackson.|
- Representative Ronny Jackson official U.S. House website
- Ronny Jackson for Congress
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
- This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Navy document: "Rear Admiral Ronny L. Jackson biography".
- Appearances on C-SPAN