Rep. Ronny Jackson was demoted by Navy after probe into misconduct

Rep. Ronny Jackson was demoted by the Navy in 2022 after a Pentagon watchdog investigation into his time as White House physician substantiated allegations of inappropriate conduct — a development that was not publicly known at the time.

“The substantiated allegations in the DoDIG investigation of Rear Adm (lower half) Ronny Jackson are not in keeping with the standards the Navy requires of its leaders and, as such, the Secretary of the Navy took administrative action in July 2022,” a Navy spokesperson told CBS News.

Records show Jackson was demoted from rear admiral (lower half) to captain. The demotion was first reported by The Washington Post.

The report from the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, released in March 2021, detailed two incidents in which Jackson inappropriately used alcohol during presidential trips while in charge of providing medical care and treatment to U.S. officials.  

The report also found that Jackson, a Republican who served under both President Obama and President Trump and now represents Texas’ 13th Congressional District, “disparaged, belittled, bullied, and humiliated” his subordinates.

Rep. Ronny Jackson
Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) served as White House physician in the Obama and Trump administrations. Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

According to the report, during a presidential trip to Manila in 2014, Jackson was accused of making inappropriate comments about a female subordinate and then knocking on her hotel room door while drunk in the middle of the night saying, “I need you.” 

Another subordinate walked by to ask what he was doing, and Jackson allegedly led both subordinates to his room to take photos of himself eating local street food. The female subordinate described Jackson’s conduct as “frat boy-type behavior,” according to the report. 

“I flat out reject any allegation that I consumed alcohol while on duty,” Jackson said following the release of the report, adding, “I also categorically deny any implication that I was in any way sexually inappropriate at work, outside of work, or anywhere with any member of my staff or anyone else.”

In 2018, then-President Trump nominated Jackson to be Veteran Affairs secretary, but reports of his conduct led to Jackson withdrawing himself from nomination. Jackson retired from the Navy in 2019 and the next year won the House seat in Texas that was left open by Rep. Mac Thornberry’s retirement.  

–Eleanor Watson contributed reporting.  

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