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Vice President Mike Pence’s physician has resigned, the latest fallout from the collapse of Ronny Jackson’s nomination for secretary of Veterans Affairs.
Dr. Jennifer Pena, who like Jackson is a military physician detailed to the White House, was among those who detailed claims of professional misconduct against Jackson to senators considering his nomination, according to a person familiar with the events.
“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,” Pence spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said in a statement.
Pena claimed in memos that Jackson may have violated Karen Pence’s patient privacy rights by sharing details of a medical incident involving the second lady to chief of staff John Kelly. The memos were first reported by CNN.
The allegations were troubling to many in Pence’s office and the White House, who felt that Pena misrepresented the severity of the situation in an effort to harm Jackson, according to the person familiar with the situation.
Jackson, a Navy rear admiral who served as a physician to President Barack Obama and continued in the West Wing to care for Trump, was nominated in late March to succeed former VA secretary David Shulkin.
Jackson withdrew from consideration on April 26 after Montana Sen. Jon Tester, the ranking Democrat on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, released a document summarizing allegations by 23 current and former colleagues that the doctor overprescribed pills, drank on the job and created a hostile work environment.
Jackson has denied the allegations and has returned to work in the White House, though not as Trump’s physician. He was succeeded in that role by Sean Conley, another Navy officer.
Trump has fumed over Tester’s role in derailing Jackson’s nomination, calling on him to resign and encouraging Montanans to vote against him in November.
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