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Vice President Pence's doctor resigns amid fallout surrounding failed VA secretary nomination

Vice President Mike Pence's physician resigned amid the fallout of failed secretary of Veterans Affairs nominee Dr. Ronny Jackson. Jackson withdrew his nomination last week, citing that the false allegations had become a distraction for President Donald Trump. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Vice President Mike Pence's doctor resigned amid the fallout surrounding Dr. Ronny Jackson's failed nomination for secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Politico reported.

Dr. Jennifer Peña, a military physician assigned to the White House Medical Unit, was among those slinging allegations against Jackson after his nomination. Peña claimed that Jackson may have violated patient privacy rights regarding the second lady Karen Pence.

The White House described the incident as "simply a dispute between two doctors."

Pence's spokeswoman Alyssa Farah confirmed Peña's resignation in a statement.

“The Vice President’s office was informed today by the White House Medical Unit of the resignation. Physicians assigned to the Vice President report to the White House Medical Unit and thus any resignation would go entirely through the Medical Unit, not the Vice President’s office,” Farah wrote.

Jackson, who called the misconduct charges against him "outrageous," withdrew his nomination last week citing that the false allegations had become a distraction for President Donald Trump.

What were the other accusations against Jackson?

Montana Sen. Jon Tester (D) alleged that during former President Barack Obama's presidency in 2015, Jackson went out drinking during an overseas trip and he returned to the hotel drunk and banged on a staff member's door. Tester said Jackson was so loud that the Secret Service had to get involved and warned him to be quiet so he wouldn't wake the president.

The Secret Service issued a statement April 26 that debunked Tester's claims.

"The Secret Service has no such record of any incident; specifically, any incident involving Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson. A thorough review of internal documents related to all Presidential foreign travel that occurred in 2015, in addition to interviews of personnel who were present during foreign travel that occurred during the same timeframe, has resulted in no information that would indicate the allegation is accurate," it wrote in the statement.

Other accusations against Jackson included drunkenness and prescription drug misuse.

Jackson was accused of giving medications such as Ambien to officials during long overseas flights and then a drug to promote wakefulness, according to The New York Times.

He was also accused of getting drunk and wrecking a White House vehicle.

What did the White House say?

But White House officials have described Jackson's record as "impeccable," including those from previous administrations, according to The White House.

“This is a guy who served this country, who is in this job pretty reluctantly, and now he’s getting hung out to dry," Dr. Robert G. Darling, a former White House physician to President Bill Clinton and a retired Navy emergency medicine doctor, said the Times reported.

Brian McKeon, who served as chief of staff for the Obama National Security Council, told the Times that he doesn't recall Jackson ever overindulging in alcohol.

“Ronny does a great job — genuine enthusiasm, poised under pressure, incredible work ethic and follow through,” Obama said of Jackson in 2016, according to information released Tuesday by White House officials.

Jackson has been part of the White House Medical Unit since 2006. Obama appointed him as physician to the president in 2013 and Trump retained him as his physician.

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