Senate Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Johnny Isakson on Tuesday further defended ranking member Jon Tester and others who had discussed allegations against Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, the former nominee for Veterans Affairs secretary.
The Georgia Republican’s latest remarks came as the National Republican Senatorial Committee has continued to hammer Tester, a Montana Democrat, over the release of information about allegations against Jackson received by senators and committee staff.
Speaking Tuesday at a Rotary Club in Carrollton, Georgia, Isakson seemed to verify a CNN report from the previous day that a White House physician for Vice President Mike Pence had raised concerns about Jackson, who has been President Donald Trump’s doctor.
Isakson said it matched some of the information presented to the Senate panel before Jackson withdrew his name from consideration.
“Fortunately last night, a story broke that made that a false statement,” he said of President Donald Trump’s assertion that the accusations against Jackson were not true, “ because part of the allegations made in one of the affidavits was verified.”
“If you’re seeking the truth, then you’re covered. If you’re not seeking the truth or if you’re fractionalizing the truth or if you’re twisting the facts, that’s something else, but I don’t think that was done,” he said, according to video from CNN.
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Trump has called for Tester to resign from the Senate over his handling of the Jackson nomination and his spreading of “phony Democrat charges which have absolutely devastated the wonderful Jackson family.”
Some of the allegations against Jackson have not been corroborated.
Even as Isakson has effectively backed his colleague’s handling of the matter, the NRSC is highlighting Trump’s comments in a new digital ad in Montana, which was announced Tuesday.
“Senator Tester didn’t even think twice before spreading unsubstantiated claims about a decorated veteran, just to please Chuck Schumer and his liberal party bosses in Washington,” committee spokesman Calvin Moore said.