Whether you subscribe to the Girther theory or not (White House physician Ronny Jackson shaved pounds off Trump’s actual weight to spare Trump placement in the “obese” category), Jackson seems like a good guy. He took care of the Obama people during the last administration, and they’ve got nothing but praise for him.
That doesn’t mean he’s qualified to run the VA, of course. People who understand the scale of that job are aghast at the nomination, and The Post says Jackson himself wonders if he’s up to the task:
Jackson was taken aback by his nomination, said senior White House officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. After aides gauged his interest in recent days, he hesitated to take on such a big job. But the president continued to push and told his senior staff Monday that the doctor was his top choice. A senior White House official described an informal interview process, without the extensive vetting that typically accompanies a Cabinet selection.
It’s unsurprising that Trump is driving the whole thing — impulsively, and in service of his own vanity, like everything else he does. Maybe Jackson will get Harriet Miersed during congressional hearings; that would probably be the kindest thing. Maybe he’ll get confirmed and face-plant on the job.
The possibility that he’ll get the support he needs to do the job well is vanishingly remote since this is the Trump administration; more likely, he’ll be surrounded by grifting vipers who will manipulate him and eventually sully his reputation, as former VA sec Shulkin implied on Chris Hayes’ show last night (though lord knows Shulkin has his own axes to grind).
Former CIA Director Brennan minced no words on the matter:
I personally know and greatly respect Ronny Jackson….as a terrific doctor and Navy officer. However, he has neither the experience nor the credentials to run the very large and complex VA. This is a terribly misguided nomination that will hurt both a good man and our veterans
— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) March 29, 2018
All of Trump’s cabinet secretaries are either wildly unqualified or wholly unsuitable because their past positions indicate they are at war with the assets they’re supposed to protect. Ben Carson is a good example of the former, and Pruitt exemplifies the latter. Some cabinet members are both unqualified and unsuitable, such as Betsy DeVos.
As these folks do their jobs badly, I watch them accrue reputational damage and come under fire politically (the latter of which could have actual teeth if we flip the House) with unmitigated glee. They chose to work for Trump, and each, in his or her own way, is a horrible person and part of the vilest collection of villains outside a James Bond film.
Jackson seems different. Josh Marshall coined the term “dignity wraith” to describe people who willingly surrender any honor they think they possess to serve a pig like Trump. Becoming a dignity wraith is a ritual humiliation anyone who works for Trump must endure. Jackson is the first one I sincerely pity.