Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was noncommittal Tuesday about the future of embattled Veterans Affairs nominee Ronny Jackson after a Senate panel postponed his confirmation hearing amid allegations of professional misconduct.
"I'm waiting to hear from both Chairman [Johnny] Isakson [R-Ga.] and the administration about what they believe the way forward should be, and we'll take our cue from them," the Kentucky Republican told reporters at the Capitol.
The Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, chaired by Isakson, postponed a confirmation hearing for Jackson, scheduled for Wednesday after the new allegations surfaced.
"Mr. Jackson and myself, and everybody in Congress, needs to take a deep breath," Isakson also told reporters in explaining the delay. "Let's give the man a chance to be heard and us to ask the questions we need to.
"As chairman, I'm going to see if there's information, that it's vetted in the proper way."
He told The Washington Post earlier Tuesday that Jackson's hearing would be "some time in the future, but not Wednesday."
Jackson, 50, the Navy rear admiral who is White House chief physician, was scheduled to testify has been accused of professional misconduct and mismanagement.
Lawmakers also raised concerns about Jackson's supervision of his medical staff and question his ability to manage the sprawling Veterans' Administration.
President Donald Trump, who nominated Jackson last month, said that the nominee should decide whether to continue forward with the process.
"I said to Dr. Jackson: 'What do you need it for?'" Trump told reporters at a joint news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron at the White House. "We'll see what happens.
"I don't want to put a man through who is not a political person," he said. "I don't want to put a man through a process like this.
"It's too ugly and too disgusting.
"We'll see what happens," the president said. "He'll make a decision."
However, Trump added: "I'll definitely stand behind him.
"He's a fine man. I'd let it be his choice."
He said Jackson was a man "who has been an extraordinary person, his family, extraordinary success.
"Great doctor, great everything — and he has to listen to the abuse that has to. I wouldn't.
"If I were him—in many ways, I'd love to be here — but the fact is I wouldn't do it.
"What does he need it for? To be abused by a bunch of politicians that aren't thinking nicely about our country.
"I would stand behind him," Trump said. "Totally his decision."
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