Dr. Ronny Jackson, President Donald Trump's nominee to head the Department of Veterans Affairs, has many allegations against him, and the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee will vet him very carefully, Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.C., who sits on the committee, said Wednesday.
"The real issue, I think in this particular case, will be the allegations," Rounds told Fox News' "America's Newsroom."
"Personally, I hope Mr. Jackson is able to survive this challenge, but nonetheless, we have to do our job, and we'll do it just like we would if it was a Democrat or a Republican administration making the nomination."
Rounds said he met with Jackson last week before the allegations he had created a hostile work environment, handed out prescriptions, and had been drinking on the job surfaced.
"We asked him questions specifically with regarding his capabilities managing a very, very large group," Rounds said of the meeting. "We aren't going to find anybody that has a lot of experience managing 360,000 employees. So, we're not going to find someone to compete in that category with him."
The committee will specific with its questions about the allegations, Rounds said, and will make its decision based on what it believes to be the facts of the case.
Rounds said he has had a "very brief discussion" with the committee's chairman, Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., about the allegations.
"He outlined what the allegations appeared to suggest," Rounds said. "We have not seen the specifics themselves yet . . . we do have an obligation to vet each of these individuals and this is a very, very large organization, the V.A. We most certainly want to make sure we've done our job to vet the individuals."
The committee's top democrat, Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, made several of the allegations about Jackson during a television interview Tuesday night, including that he had allegedly handed out "prescriptions like candy" and that in the White House, they "call him the 'Candy Man.'"
"We were aware there were allegations made for dispensation of pharmaceuticals," Rounds said. "The question we'll ask, was it appropriate or not appropriate. Anecdotal information is one thing.
"We'll get through to the bottom line and have a good review of the interviews that have been made and then we will have to make a decision. But you don't start out by assuming they are guilty. You assume you have to do your job, and you have to vet each of these individuals."
Trump appeared Tuesday to be leaving the door open to Jackson about whether he wants to move forward with the confirmation process, and Rounds said the questions that will be asked are very specific.
"[You] really have to want it, have a plan in mind, and be prepared to fight for it," Rounds said. "But you also have to be able to answer when those allegations are made."
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