Donald Trump's doctor and choice to lead the department responsible for veterans' healthcare has said he will not take the role.
The President announced his intention to appoint Dr Ronny Jackson as Veterans Affairs Secretary last month, after announcing via Twitter that he had fired David Shulkin.
US military veterans expressed their "disappointment and concern" over the move, with questions raised over whether the former navy rear admiral – who gave Mr Trump a glowing medical assessment earlier this year– was fully qualified for the role.
Since then he has faced what he insists are "false allegations" against him regarding his workplace conduct, including that he recklessly prescribed drugs and exhibited drunken behaviour.
"Going into this process, I expected tough questions about how to best care for our veterans, but I did not expect to have to dignify baseless and anonymous attacks on my character and integrity," he said in a statement.
"The allegations against me are completely false and fabricated. If they had any merit, I would not have been selected, promoted and entrusted to serve in such a sensitive and important role as physician to three presidents over the past 12 years."
Speaking to Fox News following the announcement that Dr Jackson was to withdraw, the President defended his nomination and insisted he was well suited to the role.
He praised him for running a "fantastic operation" as White House physician, a role press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has said he will continue, adding that he had been brought down by "false allegations".
Mr Trump is bidding to fulfil several election promises related to Veterans Affairs – the second largest department in the government, responsible for nine million former servicemen across 1,700 state health facilities.
On the campaign trail he blasted it as "corrupt" in relation to a 2014 scandal at Phoenix Medical Centre, in which veterans were made to wait months for care, with secret waiting lists used to cover up delays.
More from US
Mr Trump said he would bring accountability to the department and expand access to private doctors, which veterans' groups have argued could be an unwelcome step towards privatising all of their healthcare.
Robert Wilkie, undersecretary of defence for personnel and readiness, has been the acting head of the department since Dr Jackson's nomination was announced.