Donald Trump‘s former White House doctor, Ronny Jackson, said this week that his plans to make the president exercise more “never took off” but that officials did encourage healthier eating in Trump’s diet.
“We were making the ice cream less accessible,” Jackson told The New York Times in a story published Monday. “We were putting cauliflower into the mashed potatoes.”
Trump has made headlines for his love of fast food since he began campaigning for president in 2015.
“On Trump Force One there were four major food groups: McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, pizza and Diet Coke,” ex-Trump aides David Bossie and Corey Lewandowski wrote in their book, Let Trump Be Trump.
Jackson, who previously served as President Barack Obama‘s White House doctor, had infamously touted Trump’s “incredible” health in an early 2018 news conference about the president’s most recent physical.
Months later, Jackson withdrew his name as Trump’s nominee to become the secretary of veteran affairs after a number of allegations came out against him in early 2018. He was prohibited from responding to them because he was still serving in the military, according to the Times, but he told the paper they amounted to a smear campaign.
He is now running for a House of Representatives seat in Texas’ 13th district, hoping to stand out from the other Republicans as a Trump-approved conservative.
In the Times profile this week, Jackson opened up about the president’s health habits and the allegations against him.
A long list of complaints about Jackson became public after Trump nominated him for the Veteran Affairs post, including his alleged tendencies to loosely dish out prescriptions for addictive medications, create a hostile work environment and show up drunk on the job.
Democrat Sen. Jon Tester released the claims in April 2018, comprised of conversations from 23 of Jackson’s colleagues. In the document, co-workers described Jackson as “the most unethical person I have ever worked with” who created a “toxic” and “abusive” work environment and was widely known as “The Candyman” for prescribing drug medications without proper paperwork.
Jackson denied the allegations and told the Times his 2018 press conference defending the president’s health had put a target on him as a Trump ally.
“I tell people now that I got Kavanaugh-ed before Kavanaugh did,” Jackson told The Times, comparing his situation to the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, which Kavanaugh also denied despite emotional public testimony by one of his accusers.
Jackson retired from the Navy as a rear admiral.
As the Times noted, Jackson was criticized for his hour-long press conference in 2018 during which he claimed Trump had “incredible genes,” did “exceedingly well” on a cognitive test and that if he ate better he “might live to be 200 years old.”
He said then that he would push to get Trump to lose 10 to 15 lbs., including getting the president to use an exercise bike or an elliptical at the White House.
Instead, Trump’s next physical showed he gained 4 lbs.
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