GOP Rep. Ronny Jackson “briefly detained” by cops at rodeo but spox insists he "was not drinking"

Trump's former WH doc tried to help somebody experiencing a medical emergency in a chaotic situation, office says

Published August 1, 2023 10:50AM (EDT)

Texas Rep. Ronny Jackson. (Photo by Rod Lamkey-Pool/Getty Images)
Texas Rep. Ronny Jackson. (Photo by Rod Lamkey-Pool/Getty Images)

This article originally appeared on The Texas Tribune.

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U.S. Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Amarillo, was "briefly detained" by law enforcement while trying to help with a medical emergency at a rodeo Saturday night outside Amarillo, according to his office.

A spokesperson for the representative said in a statement that Jackson was detained amid a "very loud and chaotic environment" and was released as soon as law enforcement realized he was trying to help. Jackson, a physician and retired Navy rear admiral, is best known for having served as the White House doctor for presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

The local sheriff, Tam Terry, said in a statement that one person was "temporarily detained" while authorities responded to calls during a concert at the rodeo Saturday night, but Terry did not release the person's identity. Terry said his department was "reviewing the incident" and would withhold any names until the review was complete. The sheriff declined to comment further.

The incident happened at the White Deer Rodeo, an annual event in a town by the same name about 40 miles outside Amarillo.

Both Jackson's office and the sheriff released statements Monday in response to questions about the incident from The Texas Tribune.

The statement from Jackson's office said he was attending the rodeo when he was "summoned by someone in the crowd to assist a 15-year-old girl who was having a medical emergency nearby." When Jackson responded to the scene, he found a relative, who was a nurse, already helping the girl. Jackson asked if she needed help and she said yes, according to the statement, which noted there were "no uniformed EMS providers on the scene at the time."

"While assessing the patient in a very loud and chaotic environment, confusion developed with law enforcement on the scene and Dr. Jackson was briefly detained and was actually prevented from further assisting the patient," the statement said. "He was immediately released as soon as law enforcement realized that he, as a medical professional, was tending to the young girl's medical emergency."

The statement noted Jackson was sitting "in the stands during the entire rodeo, in full view of the assembled crowd, and was not drinking." The statement was attributed to a "spokesman from congressman Jackson's office" and provided by his communications director, Kate Lair.

It is unclear who detained Jackson. In addition to the Carson County sheriff's office, EMS for White Deer and neighboring Gray County responded to the calls that led to the person being detained, according to the sheriff's statement.

Carson County EMS deferred comment to the sheriff. Gray County EMS said only that it could confirm that it responded to multiple calls at the rodeo from Saturday night to early Sunday morning.

A spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety said the agency had no comment.

Jackson was first elected in 2020 to represent the 13th Congressional District, a deeply conservative district in the Panhandle. He is one of Trump's staunchest allies in Congress and a vocal booster of his 2024 comeback campaign.

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This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at

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By Patrick Svitek

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