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Q&A with U.S. Rep. Ronny Jackson

An online exclusive interview with the new Texas congressman.

WASHINGTON — The Christian Chronicle talked to new U.S. Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Texas, who became the fourth member of Churches of Christ now serving in the House.

Related: Defense investigator issues scathing report on Congressman Ronny Jackson

The interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Q: How does it feel to be elected to Congress at this time in your life?

A: It feels great. I still have some service to my country left in me after 29 years in the military — four years in the reserves, 25 years on active duty. It feels good because I feel like I can make a difference. I feel like I am in a unique position where I can serve in Congress based on a variety of issues, not the least of which is the direction that our country has taken in the last decade or so.

Q: When you think about the drive that you had to become a doctor, to help people, was there anything that inspired you growing up in the church?

A: Growing up in the church, you realize how important faith is, and obedience. We often tend to veer off in the wrong direction, but it is that faith and obedience that come from being brought up in the church and being with members of the church and attending services on a regular basis that pulls you back in line and keeps you on the straight and narrow when you have the tendency to veer off like we all do. I think it instills a sense of service as well.

President Donald J. Trump talks with Capt. Mark Kobelja, Dr. Ronny Jackson and Lt. Col. James Jones after a Jan. 12, 2018, physical at Walter Reed hospital.

President Donald Trump talks with, from left to right, Capt. Mark Kobelja, director of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center; Dr. Ronny Jackson, physician to the president; and Lt. Col. James Jones, physician assistant to the president and medical director at the Medical Evaluation and Treatment Unit in Bethesda, Maryland, on Jan. 12, 2018, following the president’s annual physical at the medical facility. (Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead)

Q: We have a divided country. How do you want to bring people together, across the aisle and across races at a time like this?

A: I have this huge Hispanic population in my district. If you sit down and talk to these folks about the issues and what they think and believe, they are not Democrats. They are Republicans. They have strong family values. They are very pro-life. They are hardworking folks who want an opportunity to make a living but aren’t looking for handouts. They want to provide for their families. They want good jobs.

If we can get beyond preconceived notions involving what party you affiliate yourself with, I think you’ll see that race doesn’t matter anymore. There will be people of all colors who are Democrats and people of all colors who are Republicans. Race shouldn’t determine what party you belong to. It should be your vision for this country and your beliefs.

I think the Republican party is the party of good Christian values. It just is. It hasn’t always been that way. There was a time when both parties identified with God and having your faith as part of who you are and your service to your country, but we’ve gotten away from that in general. The left has really not only gotten away from that but become hostile to that.

I tell people to just keep the faith. Sometimes things get worse before they get better. But I think in the long run God is going to push us in the right direction, and he will take care of us and protect us as a country. He’s going to provide the right leadership that we need, and it is going to work out in the long run.

President Barack Obama speaks with Dr. Ronny Jackson, the White House physician, in the Outer Oval Office on Feb. 21, 2014.

President Barack Obama speaks with Dr. Ronny Jackson, the White House
physician, in the Outer Oval Office on Feb. 21, 2014.

Q: You are a doctor. COVID-19 is the story of the century. You’ve been on the medical side and the political side. What is your hope?

A: I think vaccines will make a difference, and once a certain number of people get vaccinated, we will reach herd immunity and the virus will not be able to spread effectively anymore, and we will get past this. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and we will get out of this. I suspect by the end of this coming spring, this will be behind us for good.

Q: Some people in church don’t want to wear a mask – they say anybody can get the flu. Is it challenging to change that mindset?

A: You have to take a reasonable approach. In the part of Texas where I am from, people don’t really care for the mask, and they certainly don’t want mask mandates. I think you can encourage people to wear a mask and explain to them why they should wear a mask. But once you start telling people they have to wear a mask, that if they don’t you’re going to fine them or put them in jail, people instinctively will push back on that. It is not going to work.

Related: New congressman — a Christian and former Trump doctor — reflects on U.S. Capitol riot

There is a vulnerable population, and they have to take it seriously. The elderly and those with other types of illnesses have to take it super seriously. And those that have been around them have to take it seriously, because we could pass it to them, and they could get sick and die.

Others are going to have cold and flu symptoms then get well and move on. But if you have a population who don’t want to wear a mask, you have to sell it to them. It does not work to mandate things like that. 

Filed under: D.C. Dialogue Donald Trump National People Ronny Jackson U.S. Congress Washington White House doctor

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