Dr Jackson served as a physician in the White House Medical Unit from 2006 to 2018
Presidential physician turned GOP congressman Ronny Jackson’s unfounded campaign attacks on then-presidential candidate Joe Biden’s mental state drew a sharp rebuke from one of his former patients: Barack Obama.
Dr Jackson, an emergency medicine specialist, served as a physician in the White House Medical Unit from 2006 to 2018, a period of time covering the George W Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations. He held the title of physician to the president under Mr Obama and former president Donald Trump, but only came to widespread public attention after a bizarre, rambling press conference held to present results of Mr Trump’s annual physical in January 2018.
During the hour-long briefing, Dr Jackson praised Mr Trump’s “good genes” and claimed the clinically obese then-president could have lived to be 200 years old had he eaten a better diet for the prior two decades.
Mr Trump was pleased by his physician’s performance, and attempted to reward him with a nomination to run the Department of Veterans Affairs. But Dr Jackson’s nomination was derailed amid allegations that he’d improperly dispensed prescription medications and driven government vehicles while intoxicated.
After retiring from the Navy at the rank of rear admiral, Dr Jackson cashed in his Trumpworld celebrity status with a run for a Texas congressional seat during the 2020 election. As a Republican candidate for Congress, he posted a tweet suggesting a malapropism by Mr Biden was evidence that the 2020 presidential candidate needed a cognitive exam.
In his new memoir, Holding the Line: A Lifetime of Defending Democracy and American Values, Dr Jackson writes that his tweet about Mr Biden drew a response from Mr Obama within 20 minutes.
“I have made a point of not commenting on your service in my successor’s administration and have always spoken highly of you both in public and in private. You always served me and my family well, and I have considered you not only a fine doctor and service member but also a friend,” Mr Obama said in an email, according to Dr Jackson’s book.
“That’s why I have to express my disappointment at the cheap shot you took at Joe Biden via Twitter. It was unprofessional and beneath the office that you once held. It was also disrespectful to me and the many friends you had in our administration. You were the personal physician to the President of the United States as well as an admiral in the U.S. Navy. I expect better, and I hope upon reflection that you will expect more of yourself in the future,” the former president added.
In the excerpt from his book reported by Fox News, Dr Jackson recalled that he initially wanted to reach out to his former patient, but was counselled against doing so by conservative radio host Dan Bongino, who reminded him that Mr Obama did not offer the former presidential physician support during his doommed confirmation fight.
“So, upon reflection, I thought, You know what? Screw that guy! I’m not doing it,” Dr Jackson wrote. “I just walked away from it, which was the last time I had any contact with [Obama],” he wrote.