President Donald Trump said Tuesday that his pick to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, Dr. Ronny Jackson, "is one of the finest people I have ever met" but acknowledged he lacks experience in running a government agency.
"There's a lack of experience," he said.
Trump said he hadn't heard particular allegations against Jackson but defended him and said he was being unfairly treated by the press and Democrats.
"I told Admiral Jackson just a little while ago, what do you need this for? This is a vicious group of people, they malign ... what do you need it for?" the President said he asked.
"He's an admiral, he's a great leader, and they question him for every little thing," Trump said.
But he said he would leave it up to Jackson whether to continue pursuing confirmation.
"He is a high-quality person. It's totally his decision. So he'll be making a decision," he said. "I don't want to put a man through a process like this. It's too ugly and too disgusting."
Trump said if he was Jackson making the decision, he would step aside.
"If I were him, I wouldn't do it," Trump said.