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Pentagon IG: Ex-White House physician Ronny Jackson 'bullied' subordinates

Witnesses said former White House physician Ronny Jackson fostered an environment of fear and demoralization during his time as former President Donald Trump's personal doctor. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Witnesses said former White House physician Ronny Jackson fostered an environment of fear and demoralization during his time as former President Donald Trump's personal doctor. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

March 3 (UPI) -- Rep. Ronny Jackson engaged in "inappropriate conduct" and "bullied and humiliated" his subordinates while serving as former President Donald Trump's physician, a Pentagon report released Wednesday found.

Jackson, who now serves as a Republican member of the House representing Texas' 13th Congressional District, was the subject of 12 complaints made to the Defense Department between April and June 2018.

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Defense Department Office of Inspector General found evidence supporting some of the allegations, but said others were unfounded. Specifically, the report said Jackson failed to conduct himself in "an exemplary manner" and created a negative work environment for his subordinates.

"We concluded that RDML Jackson's overall course of conduct toward subordinates disparaged, belittled, bullied, and humiliated them, and fostered a negative work environment by failing to treat subordinates with dignity and respect," a statement accompanying the report read.

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Witnesses told the investigators Jackson often yelled and cursed at them, fostering an environment of fear and demoralization.

"If he's in a hurry, and if he's upset ... he is prone to having meltdowns and tantrums," one witness said. "And I didn't believe it because I was warned ahead of time ... and this was by far the worst behavior ... I've ever seen [in my medical career]."

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The inspector general also said Jackson used alcohol inappropriately twice during government trips to the Philippines and Argentina when he was in charge of providing medical care to government officials.

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He also used Ambien, a prescription medication that helps the user sleep, during long overseas flights on government business. The investigators said they couldn't determine whether Jackson notified his supervisor before taking the medication as is required by the White House Military Office.

"However, the witnesses, all of whom were [White House Medical Unit] medical personnel, raised concerns about [Rear Admiral] Jackson's potential incapacity to provide proper medical care during such flights while using Ambien because of the common side effects," the inspector general statement said.

The report said it found no evidence that Jackson required alcohol to be stocked in his rooms while on official government travel or that his staff members feared retaliation if they failed to comply. Investigators also found no evidence that he crashed a government vehicle while inebriated.

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Jackson served as physician to the president to Trump and former President Barack Obama from July 2013 until March 2018, when he stepped aside because Trump nominated him to serve as secretary of Veterans Affairs. He withdrew his nomination and declined to return as Trump's personal physician in April 2018 amid the allegations outlined in the inspector general report, but later returned in February 2019 as the first chief medical adviser to the president.

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