Ronny Jackson

Ronny Lynn Jackson (born May 4, 1967) is an American physician and a retired United States Navy rear admiral who served as Physician to the President from 2013 to 2018. Jackson is the Republican nominee running to represent Texas's 13th congressional district in the U.S. House in the 2020 elections.

Ronny Jackson
Ronny L. Jackson.jpg
Chief Medical Advisor to the President
In office
February 2, 2019 – December 1, 2019[1]
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Physician to the President
In office
July 25, 2013 – March 28, 2018
PresidentBarack Obama
Donald Trump
Preceded byJeffrey Kuhlman
Succeeded bySean Conley
Personal details
Ronny Lynn Jackson

(1967-05-04) May 4, 1967 (age 53)
Levelland, Texas, U.S.
Political partyRepublican[2]
Spouse(s)Jane Ely
EducationTexas A&M University (BS)
University of Texas Medical Branch (MD)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
Years of service1995–2019
RankRear Admiral (lower half)
UnitMedical Corps
Battles/warsIraq War
AwardsDefense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (4)

Beginning in the White House Medical Unit in the mid-2000s under George W. Bush, Jackson served as Physician to the President from 2013 to 2018 under Barack Obama and Donald Trump.[3][4] On March 28, 2018, Trump nominated Jackson to be United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs to succeed David Shulkin.[4][5][6] On April 23, 2018, allegations were publicized against Jackson alleging misconduct and mismanagement during his service in the White House.[7][8][9] The administration disputed the allegations.[10][11] Concern was also expressed about Jackson's lack of management experience.[4][12] On April 26, 2018, Jackson withdrew his nomination as Secretary of Veterans Affairs.[11][13][14]

On February 2, 2019, President Trump appointed Jackson to serve as Assistant to the President and Chief Medical Advisor, a new position in the Executive Office.[15] Jackson retired from the Navy on December 1, 2019,[1] and on December 9, he filed to run as a Republican for Congress in Texas's 13th congressional district. Placing second in the Republican primary, he won a runoff for the nomination and is considered the favorite in the November 2020 election.[16]

Early lifeEdit

Jackson was born to Waymon and Norma Jackson and raised in the small town of Levelland, Texas. One of three children, Jackson has a brother Gary and a sister Stacy who still live and work in Levelland.[17] He attended Texas A&M University, graduating in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science degree in marine biology. He went on to attend medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch, receiving his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1995.[18]


Jackson is a board-certified diplomate of the American Board of Emergency Medicine and is designated as a fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine.[19] He holds faculty clinical appointments with the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and the Harvard School of Medicine-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Disaster Medicine Fellowship Program.[20]

Jackson began his active duty naval service in 1995 at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, where he completed his internship in transitional medicine in 1996. He went on to become the honor graduate of the Navy's Undersea Medical Officer Program in Groton, Connecticut. Qualified in submarine and hyperbaric medicine, he subsequently took on operational assignments including instructor at the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center in Panama City, Florida; detachment officer in charge and diving medical officer at Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 8 in Sigonella, Italy; and diving safety officer at the Naval Safety Center in Norfolk.[21]

In 2001, Jackson returned to Portsmouth Naval Medical Center to begin his residency in emergency medicine, finishing at the top of his class and receiving the honor graduate designation. Upon completing his residency in 2004, he was assigned as clinical faculty in the Emergency Medicine Residency Program at the Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia. In 2005, he joined the 2nd Marine Logistics Group, Combat Logistics Regiment 25, in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. From there he deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as the emergency medicine physician in charge of resuscitative medicine for a forward deployed Surgical Shock Trauma Platoon in Taqaddum, Iraq.[18]

Jackson departs Walter Reed National Military Medical Center with President Barack Obama in 2015

In 2006, while still in Iraq, Jackson was selected as a White House physician. During his tenure at the White House, he directed the Executive Health Care for the President's cabinet and senior staff, served as physician supervisor for the Camp David Presidential Retreat, held the position of Physician to the White House and led the White House Medical Unit as its director. He served in the White House medical unit during three administrations and was the appointed physician for President Obama.[22][failed verification] In January 2017, Jackson made headlines after treating a girl who was bitten by Sunny, one of the Obamas' dogs.[23][24]

President Trump retained Jackson as Physician to the President upon his inauguration in January 2017; Jackson attempted several times to modify President Trump's diet and exercise habits because of concerns over the latter's weight.[25][22] He was nominated to the rank of rear admiral (upper half) on March 20, 2018.[26] This nomination was returned to President Trump by the 115th Congress on January 3, 2019 without having received consideration by the Senate Committee on Armed Services.[27] The nomination was resubmitted to the 116th Congress on January 15, 2019 and returned without consideration to President Trump on January 3, 2020 following Jackson's retirement.[28]

Secretary of Veterans Affairs nominationEdit

On March 28, 2018, President Donald Trump announced that he planned to replace David Shulkin with Ronny Jackson as secretary of Veterans Affairs.[4][29][30] Some senators expressed skepticism of the nomination due to Jackson's lack of management experience.[4][12]

On April 23, 2018, the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs postponed a hearing on his nomination after current and former employees on the White House medical staff accused Jackson of creating a hostile work environment, excessively drinking on the job, and improperly dispensing medication.[31][32] Senator Jon Tester told CNN on April 24 that Jackson was known as "the candy man" inside the White House, according to around 20 people who brought these concerns to the Veterans' Affairs Senate Committee. He would allegedly hand out Ambien, Provigil, and other prescription drugs "like they were candy".[33][34] CNN also reported that during an overseas trip in 2015, an intoxicated Jackson loudly knocked on the hotel room door of a female employee, so noisily that the United States Secret Service reportedly stopped him to prevent him potentially waking up then-President Barack Obama.[35] Trump responded during a news conference the next day, defending Jackson as "one of the finest people that I have met", but also hinting that his nominee might drop out, while blaming Democrats for mounting an unfair attack on the admiral's record.[32] On April 27, 2018, the Secret Service reported that it had no records of any incidents involving Jackson having caused any commotions in hotels in 2015 when Secret Service personnel were guarding President Obama.[36]

Jackson was widely criticized for giving an uncharacteristically glowing and untruthful assessment of President Trump's health, saying that "if he had a healthier diet over the last 20 years, he might live to be 200 years old", and that he had "incredibly good genes, and it's just the way God made him".[37] He was accused of misstating the height and weight of the president in order to minimize his obesity. [38]

Jackson withdrew himself from consideration for the Secretary of Veterans' Affairs nomination on April 26, 2018, after the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs began formally investigating the allegations.[39][40] Jackson insisted that the allegations were "completely false and fabricated" and said he was withdrawing because the controversy has become a distraction for Trump and his agenda.[40] On April 29, Politico reported that Jackson will continue to work in the White House Medical Unit but will not be returning to his position as the President's personal physician, to be replaced by Navy officer Sean Conley, who took over the role a month earlier.[41]

Although Jackson was permitted to retire from the Navy on December 1, 2019, Barbara Starr of CNN reported that "standard military procedures would allow for Jackson to be brought back on active duty and face a reprimand or even a reduction of rank in his retirement" as a result of a pending Department of Defense Inspector General investigation of "allegations that he was periodically intoxicated and mishandled prescription drugs."[1]

2020 congressional bidEdit

On December 9, 2019, Jackson filed to run as a Republican for Congress in Texas's 13th congressional district, his home district. The seat came open when 13-term incumbent Republican Mac Thornberry announced he would not seek reelection in the 2020 election.[42][43] Jackson finished in second place in the primary election–the real contest in this heavily Republican district–behind former Texas Cattle Feeders Association lobbyist Josh Winegarner, and the two were set for a runoff election on July 14, 2020 for the Republican nomination.[44][45] On July 14, 2020, he won the runoff election over Winegarner by 55.58% to 44.42%.[46] According to The New York Times, Jackson "ran a campaign based on his close relationship with President Trump." Jackson leveraged that relationship to obtain assistance from two top officials with Trump's reelection campaign, Justin Clark and Bill Stepien, when it seemed his congressional bid was in trouble.[47]

In May 2020, Jackson said that President Obama had spied on the Trump campaign,[47] and accused Obama of "[weaponizing] the highest levels of our government to spy on President Trump."[48] Jackson added: "Every Deep State traitor deserves to be brought to justice for their heinous actions."[48]

Jackson opposes face mask mandates to halt the spread of the coronavirus.[49] He said, "I think that wearing a mask is a personal choice, and I don't particularly want my government telling me that I have to wear a mask."[49]

Personal lifeEdit

Jackson's family includes his wife Jane and three children.[17]

Awards and decorationsEdit

Jackson's decorations, awards, and badges include, among others:[18]

1st row Defense Superior Service Medal Legion of Merit
2nd row Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal w/ three 516" Gold Stars Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal w/ two ​516" Gold Stars Joint Meritorious Unit Award Navy Unit Commendation w/ one 316" bronze star
3rd row Navy and Marine Corps Meritorious Unit Commendation w/ two ​316" bronze stars Navy Expeditionary Medal National Defense Service Medal w/ one ​316" bronze star Kosovo Campaign Medal w/ one ​316" bronze star
4th row Iraq Campaign Medal with Fleet Marine Force Combat Operation Insignia Global War on Terrorism Service Medal Armed Forces Service Medal Navy and Marine Corps Sea Service Deployment Ribbon w/ two ​316" bronze stars
5th row Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon w/ one ​316" bronze star NATO Medal for Yugoslavia Service w/ one ​316" bronze star Navy Expert Rifleman Medal Navy Expert Pistol Shot Medal
Badges Fleet Marine Force insignia Parachutist Badge
Badges Navy Diving Medical Officer Badge Presidential Service Badge

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Starr, Barbara (December 3, 2019). "Trump's former physician retires from Navy". CNN. Retrieved December 10, 2019.
  2. ^ Bowman, Bridget (November 8, 2019). "Former VA nominee Ronny Jackson eyes run for Congress". Roll Call. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  3. ^ "Trump is keeping Obama's White House doctor for now". STAT. February 2, 2017. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e Rein, Lisa; Rucker, Philip; Wax-Thibodeaux, Emily; Dawsey, Josh (March 29, 2018). "Trump taps his doctor to replace Shulkin at VA, choosing personal chemistry over traditional qualifications". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  5. ^ Ballhaus, Rebecca; Kesling, Ben (March 28, 2018). "Donald Trump Ousts VA Secretary David Shulkin". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  6. ^ "PN1847 - Nomination of Ronny Lynn Jackson for Department of Veterans Affairs, 115th Congress (2017-2018)". Library of Congress. June 20, 2018. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  7. ^ Raju, Manu. "Pence's doctor alerted WH aides about Ronny Jackson concerns last fall". CNN. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  8. ^ "Pence's doctor accused Ronny Jackson of misconduct while treating second lady". Press Herald. May 1, 2018. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  9. ^ Porter, Tom (April 30, 2018). "Ronny Jackson will not return as Trump's physician following drunkenness and misconduct allegations". Newsweek. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  10. ^ Khan, Mariam (April 27, 2018). "Secret Service disputes allegation against Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson". ABC News. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  11. ^ a b Shear, Michael D. (April 27, 2018). "White House Says Records Don't Match Accusation Against Jackson". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  12. ^ a b Kim, Seung Min (April 1, 2018). "Senate Republicans express concerns about Trump's choice to lead Veterans Affairs". Retrieved April 26, 2018.
  13. ^ Korade, Matt (April 30, 2018). "Ronny Jackson will not return as Trump's physician, Politico reports". CNN. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  14. ^ Rhodan, Maya (April 30, 2018). "White House: Ronny Jackson Is Not Leaving His Post". Time. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  15. ^ "President Donald J. Trump Announces Appointments for the Executive Office of the President". The White House. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  16. ^ Shepard, Steven; Arkin, James (July 15, 2020). "Takeaways from Tuesday's primaries". Politico. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
  17. ^ a b Westbrook, Ray (January 26, 2018). "Presidents consult Rear Adm. Dr. Ronny Jackson, Levelland native". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  18. ^ a b c "U.S. Navy Biographies - Rear Admiral Ronny L. Jackson". US Navy. December 4, 2019. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  19. ^ "United States Navy Biographies – Rear Admiral Ronny L. Jackson". United States Navy. December 11, 2017. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  20. ^ "Core Faculty". BIDMC [Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center] Fellowship in Disaster Medicine. Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians at BIDMC, Inc. Retrieved March 28, 2018. BIDMC Fellowship in Disaster Medicine is a one-year program designed to provide qualified fellows the opportunity to develop an expertise in the related fields of Disaster Medicine (DM) and Emergency Management (EM).
  21. ^ Gromelski, Joe (March 29, 2018). "Scandal-wounded Shulkin cites fight over privatization as factor in ouster". Stars and Stripes. Centreville, VA. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  22. ^ a b Karni, Annie (February 24, 2020). "Trump's Doctor Thought He Had a Ticket to Congress. It Hasn't Been So Easy". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 26, 2020.
  23. ^ Blake, Aaron (March 29, 2018). "Analysis | Who is Trump's new Veterans Affairs pick, Ronny Jackson?". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved March 29, 2018.
  24. ^ Fuster, Jeremy (January 12, 2017). "Presidential Dog Bite: Sunny Injures a White House Guest". TheWrap. Retrieved March 29, 2018.
  25. ^ Kutner, Max (January 12, 2018). "Who is Trump's doctor, White House physician Ronny Jackson?". Newsweek. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  26. ^ Merica, Dan (March 23, 2018). "The President's doctor is getting promoted". CNN. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  27. ^ "PN1764 — Rear Adm. (lh) Ronny L. Jackson — Navy". U.S. Congress. January 3, 2019. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  28. ^ "PN30 — Rear Adm. (lh) Ronny L. Jackson — Navy". U.S. Congress. January 15, 2019. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  29. ^ Fandos, Nicholas; Haberman, Maggie (March 28, 2018). "Veterans Affairs Secretary Is Latest to Go as Trump Shakes Up Cabinet". The New York Times. Retrieved March 29, 2018.
  30. ^ Holland, Steve (March 29, 2018). "Trump pushes out Shulkin at VA, nominates Jackson as replacement". Reuters. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  31. ^ Kim, Seung Min; Rein, Lisa; Dawsey, Josh (April 23, 2018). "Senate to postpone confirmation hearing for Ronny Jackson to head Veterans Affairs, White House officials told". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  32. ^ a b Fandos, Nicholas; Shear, Michael D. (April 24, 2018). "After Trump Hints V.A. Nominee Might Drop Out, an Aggressive Show of Support". The New York Times. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  33. ^ Tatum, Sophie (April 24, 2018). "Sen. Tester: VA nominee handed out prescriptions 'like candy'". CNN. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  34. ^ "Ronny Jackson crashed car while drunk and mishandled drugs, document claims". the Guardian. April 25, 2018.
  35. ^ Summers, Juana; Raju, Manu (April 25, 2018). "VA nominee drunkenly banged on female employee's door during trip, sources say". CNN. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  36. ^ Khan, Mariam (April 27, 2018). "Secret Service disputes allegation against Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson". ABC News. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  37. ^ Samuels, Brett (January 16, 2018). "WH doctor credits 'good genes' for Trump's excellent health despite fast food diet". The Hills. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  38. ^ Bieler, Des (January 16, 2018). "Doctor says Trump is 6-3, 239 pounds, and the Internet has so many athlete comparisons". Washington Post. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  39. ^ Holland, Steve; Rampton, Roberta (April 26, 2018). "White House doctor steps back from Trump veterans job after controversy". Reuters. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
  40. ^ a b Foran, Clare; Summers, Juana; Diamond, Jeremy (April 26, 2018). "Ronny Jackson withdraws as VA secretary nominee". CNN. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
  41. ^ Johnson, Eliana (April 29, 2018). "Ronny Jackson won't return to old job as Trump's physician". Politico. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  42. ^ Brice-Saddler, Michael (December 9, 2019). "Ex-White House doctor allegedly known as 'Candyman' is running for Congress in Texas". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
  43. ^ Allassan, Fadel (December 9, 2019). "Former White House doctor Ronny Jackson running for Congress". Axios. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
  44. ^ Axelrod, Tal (March 4, 2020). "Former White House physician heading to runoff in Texas congressional race". The Hill. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
  45. ^ Warren, Thomas (May 26, 2020). "Trump Tweets Support for Ronny Jackson". The Amarillo Pioneer. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  46. ^ Karni, Annie (July 14, 2020). "Ronny Jackson, Ex-White House Doctor, Wins Texas House Runoff". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
  47. ^ a b Karni, Annie (July 14, 2020). "Ronny Jackson, Ex-White House Doctor, Wins Texas House Runoff". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
  48. ^ a b Johnson, Martin (May 13, 2020). "Trump's ex-White House doctor accuses Obama of weaponizing 'highest levels' of government". The Hill. Retrieved May 14, 2020.
  49. ^ a b Forgey, Quint. "Former Trump physician Ronny Jackson: 'Wearing a mask is a personal choice'". Politico. Retrieved July 15, 2020.

External linksEdit

Military offices
Preceded by
Jeffrey Kuhlman
Physician to the President
Succeeded by
Sean Conley