President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, Admiral Ronny Jackson, is confident he has the ability to lead the nation’s second-largest agency, which has more than 300,000 employees and 1,200 medical facilities.

 

“You know, I’m not just an officer in the Navy; I’m an emergency medicine physician in the military. I’ve been confronted on a day-to-day basis with life and death decisions,” he told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. “I think I’ve got what it takes, and you know, I don’t buy into that argument at all.”

Jackson received his medical degree and began his active duty naval service in 1995 at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth. In 2005, he was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as the emergency medicine physician in Taqaddum, Iraq.

“I’ve been overseas, and I’ve been deployed in combat zones with Marines and soldiers and airmen and sailors, and I’ve seen first-hand what they go through, the injuries and the things they come home with,” Jackson said.

In 2006, Jackson was selected as a White House physician by President George W. Bush and continued to serve under Obama and Trump.

He has been awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal (four awards), and the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal (three awards).

Some veteran groups oppose Trump’s nominee.

“Dr. Jackson’s bio does not reflect any experience working with the VA or with veterans, or managing any organization of size, much less one as multifaceted as the Department of Veterans Affairs, so the VFW will be closely monitoring his Senate confirmation process,” the Veterans of Foreign Wars said in a statement.

Jackson’s appointment comes after Trump fired David Shulkin for because he didn’t “like what he’s hearing” about the major ethics scandal Shulkin was caught in. Since then, Shulkin went on a media tour blaming conservative bureaucrats and his opposition to privatization reform as to why he got fired.

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