VA pick Ronny Jackson says he's up for the job

Matt Saintsing
April 09, 2018 - 2:34 pm

Photo by Oliver Contreras/SIPA USA


President Donald Trump’s pick to lead VA wants veterans to know he’s up to the task and is dismissing fears he’s not qualified to lead the second largest government agency, one with more than 300,000 employees.

Randy Jackson certainly has the medical chops as a Navy doctor, but veterans groups were largely caught off guard when Trump tweeted his intent to nominate him as Secretary of Veterans Affairs. In his first media appearance since Trump nominated him, Jackson says he’s more than just a Naval officer.

“You know, I’m not just an officer in the Navy; I’m an emergency medicine physician in the military. I’ve been confronted on a day-to-day basis with life and death decisions,” Jackson told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

“I think I’ve got what it takes, and you know, I don’t buy into that argument at all.”

Trump announced his intent to nominate Jackson March 28 in a tweet, citing his displeasure with the slow pace of improvements under David Shulkin’s tenure.

Shulkin penned an op-ed the day after he was fired taking to task what he calls the administration’s attempt to privatize the agency. However, Shulkin told USA TODAY that he believes Jackson can do the job, but he has to build the right team around himself.

In his interview with the Avalanche-Journal, Jackson didn’t outline any policy or his views on how best to give veterans are. He did say, however, that “we owe the vets the absolute best care that’s available out there.”

“I’ve been overseas, and I’ve been deployed in combat zones with Marines and soldiers and airmen and sailors, and I’ve seen first-hand what they go through, the injuries and the things they come home with,” said Jackson.

The VA has been beleaguered by scandals since 2014, when it was revealed veterans had died while waiting for appointments at a VA clinic in Phoenix, Ariz.

If confirmed, Jackson will be the fourth Secretary of Veterans Affairs in four years.