Ronny Jackson Was Quietly Demoted After DOD Investigation: Report

ronny jackson navy

Former White House physician and current House Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) left the West Wing in 2019 amid a fog of allegations of inappropriate workplace conduct and alcohol abuse while on the job. Since his departure, he’s claimed the rank of a retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral in his public statements, but according to a report from The Washington Post, Jackson was quietly demoted in 2022 to the rank of Captain after the release of a scathing report on his behavior by the Pentagon’s inspector general. 

In 2018, the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General (OIG) received a slew of complaints regarding Jackson’s conduct as the White House physician. The department opened an investigation into the allegations of alcohol abuse, unchecked rage, and sexual harassment towards other staffers. The investigation was stalled for some time over objections from the Trump administration, but the report released by the OIG in 2021 ultimately found that Jackson’s  “overall course of conduct toward subordinates disparaged, belittled, bullied, and humiliated them, and fostered a negative work environment”; that Jackson “made sexual and denigrating statements” about his female colleagues; and “engaged in inappropriate conduct involving the use of Alcohol.” 

According to the Post, in the aftermath of the report’s release Jackson was demoted from his rank as Rear Admiral, which he held through his retirement in 2019. A current Defense Department official and a former U.S. official anonymously confirmed the previously unreported sanction to the Post. A demotion of that nature would carry severe financial penalties for servicemembers, including a massive decrease in their retirement pension.

Trump and Jackson maintained a close relationship while the former president was in office, and through the physician’s career in Congress. Jackson infamously delivered a lengthy press conference in which he gushed about Trump’s health and cognitive abilities, praised his “good genes” and claimed that if Trump had eaten a little less fast food he “might live to be 200 years old.” As a candidate for office, Jackson leaned heavily into Trumpsim, at one point lauding the former president as the  “MAGA King.” To this day, Trump often cites Jackson when defending his health and mental acuity. 

Jackson himself has maintained that the allegations of misconduct against him and the OIG’s findings were little more than a political hit job intended to punish him for supporting former president Trump, and still refers to himself as a retired Rear Admiral on his website. 

While Jackson ultimately left the White House and made a successful run for Congress, his actions as White House physician have continued to haunt him even before he left Trump’s employment. In 2018, Jackson’s nomination for a position as Secretary of Veterans Affairs fell apart after the allegations of his misconduct — and his not-so-secret- reputation as the White House’s drug “candyman” — threatened to tank his Senate confirmation. 

In January, a report from OIG found that in the years Jackson served as the president’s physician, the White House Medical Unit’s pharmacy acted as a poorly regulated pill mill for administration staffers, distributing prescription medication with little oversight, inappropriate record keeping, and spending absurd amounts of money on brand name medications. 


White Jackson was not directly implicated in that investigation, Rolling Stone recently reported that medications like Xanax and Modafinil were available practically over the counter to staffers. Stephanie Grisham, Trump’s former White House said Jackson “would come around Air Force One asking Donald Trump’s senior staff if they needed anything. This included Provigil and [the sleep aid] Ambien, and he would hand them out, typically in the form of packets with two or three pills in them. When this happened on Air Force One, a nurse would be trailing him, writing down who got what.” 

Many of the staffers who spoke to Rolling Stone pointed to Jackson as the source of the dysfunction in the White House Medical Unit. “Any practices existing at that time were all set up by Jackson, who’d been there for a dozen years. Though the med unit was led by an administrator, little happened without his say-so,” one source said

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