- President Donald Trump on Wednesday tweeted that he was nominating Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs position.
- Jackson is perhaps best known for defending Trump’s health during a televised press briefing in January, amid heated questions about the president’s weight and cognitive ability.
- Jackson said Trump was in “excellent health,” though he recommended that he lose 10 to 15 pounds.
Jackson has served in the White House since President George W. Bush’s administration, but he’s perhaps best-known for defending Trump’s health with a glowing public report in January – much to the surprise of the White House press corps.
Jackson fielded detailed questions about Trump’s health from reporters for roughly an hour, but his overall assessment was that Trump was in “excellent health” and “fit for duty,” though he recommended Trump should lose 10 to 15 pounds.
Jackson’s review was at times gushing – he claimed Trump had “incredible genes” that kept him healthy despite his well-documented affinity for fast food and abhorrence of exercise. The comments prompted some on social media to ridicule Jackson’s report and suggest he wasn’t being truthful.
“It’s called genetics. I don’t know,” Jackson said at one point. “Some people have just great genes. I told the president that if he had a healthier diet over the last 20 years, he might live to be 200 years old. I just don’t know.”
He added, “It’s just the way God made him.”
Jackson also told reporters he had “absolutely no concerns” about Trump’s cognitive ability, following widespread speculation about Trump’s mental state.
Jackson said Trump scored a perfect 30/30 score on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, which measures age-related cognitive issues such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
“The president is very sharp and articulate,” Jackson said. “I’ve never known him to repeat himself around me. I have no reason whatsoever to think that the president has an issue with his thought process.”
Though some in the media questioned Jackson’s report, multiple ex-Obama administration officials leapt to Jackson’s defense and said he had provided excellent care for former officials.
“Dr. Jackson is a phenomenal doctor and a really great guy,” Dan Pfeiffer, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, tweeted. “He and his team took great care of all of us for many years.”
Jeremy Berke contributed reporting.