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What will Republicans do about their Ronny Jackson problem?

During his time as the White House physician for the last two presidents, Ronny Jackson allegedly behaved in an inappropriate way toward subordinates, violated protocols on drinking and took a prescription strength sleeping pill that raised concerns among his colleagues that he might not be able to do his job adequately.

That’s all according to a Department of Defense inspector general investigation and report released on Wednesday and first reported by CNN on Tuesday night. As CNN wrote of the report:

“After interviewing 78 witnesses and reviewing a host of White House documents, investigators concluded that Jackson, who achieved the rank of Rear Admiral, failed to treat his subordinates with dignity and respect, engaged in inappropriate conduct involving the use of alcohol during two incidents and used sleeping medication during an overseas trip that raised concerns about his ability to provide medical care to the President and other top officials.”

Among the specific allegations:

* On a trip to the Philippines in 2014, Jackson allegedly got drunk and made inappropriate comments about a female subordinate. As CNN wrote: “Back at the hotel, one of the witnesses said he saw Jackson ‘pounding’ on the door of his female subordinate’s room. When she opened the door, Jackson said, ‘I need you,’ and, ‘I need you to come to my room.'”

* On a trip to Asia, Jackson reportedly made several lewd comments about a female subordinate’s body and said he would “like to see more of her tattoos.”

* Jackson took Ambien on a long flight while on duty to provide medical care for government officials — including the President. While several people told the inspector general they were concerned about Jackson’s ability to give the necessary medical care while taking the sleeping pill, doing so is not prohibited.

It’s, um, not good. At all.

Jackson, for his part, insisted that the IG report was entirely based on old allegations and that he was being unfairly targeted because he refused to “turn my back on President (Donald) Trump.” (He also denied ever drinking on the job.)

Jackson’s high profile support for Trump — and vice versa — was critical to Jackson’s victory in Texas’ 13th District — a strongly Republican seat where Jackson rode his close ties to Trump to victory.

Which brings us to the present moment. Jackson is a sitting member of Congress from Texas. And, while none of the allegations or witness accounts of his behavior deal with his time in the House (or during his campaign for the job), they still pose a difficult question for Republicans: What, if anything, should they do about these serious accusations?

After all, this report isn’t the work of some Trump-hating publication. This comes from the inspector general of the Department of Defense. And includes scads of eyewitness accounts of Jackson’s behavior — the vast majority of which were negative.

It’s not the sort of thing you should dismiss. And yet, if past is prologue, House Republicans may do just that.

Remember that when past anti-Semitic and Islamophobic comments made by Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene came to light, House Republican leaders refused to strip her of her committee assignments — insisting that judging members by comments they made before being elected set a very dangerous precedent. (The Democratic majority later stripped Greene of her committee assignments.)

It’s hard to imagine Republicans changing that posture — especially given the fact that Jackson denies the claims made by dozens of people cited in the report.

Will Democrats seek to have the report and its allegations about Jackson referred to the House Ethics Committee? And, if so, what will Republican say then?

Article Topic Follows: Politics

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