Don’t they carefully vet the White House physician?

The White House physician is an important job, since he is supposed to supervise the health of the US president. So it is surprising that Ronny Jackson, who held that post under both Barack Obama and Donald Trump, is a proponent of wild conspiracies, the most recent of which concerns the Omicron variant.

Roughly 24 hours after most people in America first heard about the Omicron variant of Covid-19, Texas Rep. Ronny Jackson (R) offered a conspiracy theory to explain what was happening.

“Here comes the MEV – the Midterm Election Variant,” tweeted Jackson, who, not for nothing, is also a physician. “They NEED a reason to push unsolicited nationwide mail-in ballots. Democrats will do anything to CHEAT during an election – but we’re not going to let them!”

And then there was this from Fox News personality Pete Hegseth: “Count on a variant about every October, every two years.”

The idea here is clear: The emergence of Omicron is a political gambit by Democrats designed to aid them at the ballot box.

To all those who might be tempted to believe this nonsense, do you have any idea how hard it is to manufacture a virus in the laboratory? The idea that the Democratic party has at their disposal a secret facility that can produce viruses on demand is so absurd that you have to have lost touch with reality to believe it, let alone propagate it. Or you have to think that your supporters will believe any nonsense as long as it targets Democrats.

But problems with Jackson go back beyond this latest nonsense, suggesting that he was the wrong person for this job.

On April 23, 2018, the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs postponed a hearing on Jackson’s nomination after current and former White House medical staff accused him of creating a hostile work environment, excessive drinking on the job, and dispensing medication improperly.[33][34] Senator Jon Tester told CNN on April 24 that Jackson was known as “the candy man” at the White House, according to around 20 people who brought these concerns to the Veterans’ Affairs Senate Committee, because he allegedly handed out Ambien, Provigil, and other prescription drugs “like they were candy”

The OIG concluded, by a preponderance of the evidence, that Jackson had “made sexual and denigrating statements about one of his female medical subordinates to another of his subordinates”; that Jackson “drank alcohol with his subordinates in Manila, became intoxicated, and, while in his hotel room, engaged in behavior that witnesses described as screaming and yelling, and behavior that some complained might wake the President”; and that Jackson took Ambien (a sleep medication) during official travel, “raising concerns about his potential incapacity to provide proper medical care during this travel.”[23][45] In addition to findings that Jackson had “engaged in inappropriate conduct involving the use of alcohol” during two presidential trips, the report also found that he “disparaged, belittled, bullied, and humiliated subordinates”; “created a negative WHMU work environment”; and “failed to conduct himself in an exemplary manner and made an unfavorable impact on the overall WHMU command climate.”

It is possible that Jackson was once a sober and responsible physician until he got the White House position and that it went to his head and he started treating it like a frat house. But that seems unlikely. People do not develop fundamental flaws in their character in middle age. The warning signs must have been there but the people who are responsible for vetting the position clearly did a very poor job.

The Daily Show has more on the idiocy spread by Jackson and others.


  1. says

    The idea that the Democratic party has at their disposal a secret facility that can produce viruses on demand is so absurd that you have to have lost touch with reality to believe it, let alone propagate it.

    To be fair, the US government does have such facilities and has worked on bioweapons in the past. It’s just the usual freak-projection. I don’t think the bioweapons guys would bother making a custom virus, but the “addition of capabilities” tailoring is a real possibility that has been discussed an published about.

    In the case of COVID, though, it’s pretty obviously a form of virus that evolved normally in some reservoir where humans didn’t encounter it often and never developed immunity against it. Now, there are millions of reservoirs for mutation, called “republicans” and new strains will crop up frequently until it’s like a common cold. Unfortunately, we’re all going to have to develop immunity to this thing because it will be impossible to avoid it forever (thanks, republicans!) and the people who develop their immunity by vaccination will have a better experience doing so.

    “disparaged, belittled, bullied, and humiliated subordinates”

    Sounds like he fit right in.

  2. ardipithecus says

    Great job of scattering a few specimens here and there around the world, and kudos to the South African doctor who was so kind to discover it in a place so distant from Democrat HQ.

  3. moarscienceplz says

    A lot of people seem to think that an MD is essentially a scientist, and thus anything that dribbles out of an MD’s piehole must be golden. First off, even top level scientists can still be dickheads. Richard Dawkins springs instantly to mind, as well as Linus Pauling and his silly Vitamin C cold cure, and many others too numerous to mention. But MDs are an even worse class. The ability to be an MD is essentially the ability to memorize a bunch of stuff out of textbooks and then parrot it back on command. Most disease diagnoses are simply decision trees often developed dacades ago and blindly retraced by the doctor.
    I wouldn’t expect a sensible answer to a political problem from an MD any more than I would expect one from my plumber. In fact, my plumber is a better diagnostician than my last doctor, so I would give him a better chance of getting my vote.

  4. Pierce R. Butler says

    Don’t they carefully vet the White House physician?

    When “they” are Trumpistas? Only for ideology and willingness to collude.

    Jackson got two gold stars on his application.

  5. lanir says

    I guess I’m an optimist but not a very good one. I’m still a little surprised when I see someone in a profession that requires thinking through complex problems turn around and believe in trivially falsifiable gibberish. But it’s been a long time since I ran into an example of it that actually shocked me.

  6. jrkrideau says

    @ 3 moarscienceplz

    As a follow-up.

    This leads to a very misleading impression that’s often echoed on TV by people like medical doctors who don’t have a good grasp of how science works.

    I am reminded of a science of history blogger who suggests never letting scientists try to write history. The results are usually horrible.

    Most recent quote from a famous US physicist.
    In 1666 we had the great plague. Cambridge University was shut down and a 23-year-old boy was sent home, and he saw an apple fall on his estate. And then he realised that the laws that control an apple are the same laws that control the moon. So the epidemic gave Isaac Newton an opportunity to sit down and follow the mathematics of falling apples and falling moons. But of course there was no mathematics at that time.


  7. Mano Singham says

    jrkrideau @#6,

    That statement by Kaku is mindbogglingly ignorant. I have long given up on Kaku. He seems to me to be just a publicity hound.

  8. xohjoh2n says


    Actually there were no apples either. The whole reason that we have a modern theory of physics is because Newton invented the apple for the first time under that tree.

  9. jrkrideau says

    @ 7 Mano Singham
    I must admit I had never heard of Kaku until yesterday. It was a serendipitous link between your post and Thoney’s

    The real thing seems that scientists know how to do “science”, they do not understand history.

    @ xohjoh2n
    I believe that Newton was raised in a fairly well off household. they probably had oranges.

  10. brucegee1962 says

    Any chance that he meant “There was no calculus at the time”? Grasping at straws here.
    I mean, at least he said “saw an apple fall….the same laws that control the moon,” which is a fair sight better than “an apple fell on his head and he discovered gravity” which is what most people know. So I’m willing to give him a bit of slack.

  11. jrkrideau says


    I’m willing to give him a bit of slack

    The problem is that anyone with a decent knowledge of the history of science knows that the apple story is pure garbage.

    Any chance that he meant “There was no calculus at the time”?

    Kaku wrote But of course there was no mathematics at that time.

    This ignores the evolution of mathematics from at least early Mesopotamia through the Egyptians and Greeks, the Indians, etc., etc. Presumably Kaku never heard of Ptolemaeus’ Almagest or Geographia ?

    How does Kaku think Copernicus, or Galileo or Kepler carried out their studies if there were no mathematics?

    I think he was going on half-remembered stories that really had no basis in fact.

    He probably thinks that everyone in 15th C Europe thought the world was flat. Apparently Neil deGrasse Tyson has made this claim.

  12. Broldey says

    @ moarscienceplz #3

    Re your smear of Linus Pauling (“Linus Pauling and his silly Vitamin C cold cure”).

    Linus Pauling was right with his vitamin work. However, everyone should keep the following in mind, especially now with the Covid Scamdemic going on:

    … there are many bogus voices around who strive to distract the public from the value of vitamin C therapy and the fact that Pauling’s VALID work with vitamin C supplementation has been “falsified” by data distortions and lies, and he as a person (a double Nobel laureate) has been slandered as some deluded idiot by the criminal medical establishment and its countless quackwatch shills, lackeys, ignoramuses, and trolls for decades and it continues today, and

    … that the same corrupt criminal people (and their uninformed followers) are behind the organized suppression, lies, and half-truths spread about the value of vitamin C therapy against covid-19 — study “The 2 Married Pink Elephants In The Historical Room –The Holocaustal Covid-19 Coronavirus Madness: A Sociological Perspective & Historical Assessment Of The Covid “Phenomenon”” at

    But you can’t discredit the facts with lies. That only exposes and discredits the liars (see link above).

  13. brucegee1962 says

    The problem is that anyone with a decent knowledge of the history of science knows that the apple story is pure garbage.

    Really? The Wikipedia article certainly credits it pretty heavily:
    “Although it has been said that the apple story is a myth and that he did not arrive at his theory of gravity at any single moment, acquaintances of Newton (such as William Stukeley, whose manuscript account of 1752 has been made available by the Royal Society) do in fact confirm the incident, though not the apocryphal version that the apple actually hit Newton’s head. Stukeley recorded in his Memoirs of Sir Isaac Newton’s Life a conversation with Newton in Kensington on 15 April 1726:

    ‘we went into the garden, & drank thea under the shade of some appletrees, only he, & myself. amidst other discourse, he told me, he was just in the same situation, as when formerly, the notion of gravitation came into his mind. “why should that apple always descend perpendicularly to the ground,” thought he to him self: occasion’d by the fall of an apple, as he sat in a comtemplative mood: “why should it not go sideways, or upwards? but constantly to the earths centre? assuredly, the reason is, that the earth draws it. there must be a drawing power in matter.’ ”

    Obviously Kaku misspoke about mathematics, but I guess I have a hard time believing anyone could know enough to link Newton to the plague year and yet be that ignorant of the entire history of mathematics.

  14. billseymour says

    I guess Broldey @13 has “done his own research”:  he found someone on the internet who agreed with him.

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