WASHINGTON: A furious President Donald Trump on Saturday called for the resignation of the Democratic senator who assembled and released what he called “false” allegations that scuttled the nomination of the White House doctor who’d been in line to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Trump stepped up his criticism of Montana’s Jon Tester, the top Democrat on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, in two tweets days after asserting that Tester “has to have a big price to pay” politically in the GOP-friendly state for his leading role in Ronny Jackson’s failed VA bid. Tester faces a competitive re-election race this year.

Tester, in a statement, didn’t directly respond to Trump but said he was committed to aiding veterans.

At issue are allegations that Tester has said were brought to his attention by over 20 military and retired military personnel who’ve worked with Jackson. Tester said not investigating would have been “a dereliction of duty” and said making them public was important for the sake of transparency.

The charges against Jackson raised questions about his prescribing practices and leadership ability, including accusations of drunkenness on the job. Tester’s office collected the allegations, which included a claim that Jackson “got drunk and wrecked a government vehicle” at a Secret Service going-away party.

Trump tweeted early Saturday that the allegations “are proving false. The Secret Service is unable to confirm (in fact they deny) any of the phony Democrat charges which have absolutely devastated the wonderful Jackson family. Tester should resign.”

Trump said people in Montana, a state he won by 20 percentage points in 2016, “will not stand for this kind of slander.” He called Jackson “the kind of man that those in Montana would most respect and admire, and now, for no reason whatsoever, his reputation has been shattered. Not fair, Tester!”

Before leaving for a rally in Michigan, Trump directed another tweet at Tester, likening the senator’s claims against Jackson to the “phony Russian Collusion” accusations leveled against Trump’s campaign. “Very dishonest and sick!”

In a written statement Tester said: “It’s my duty to make sure Montana veterans get what they need and have earned, and I’ll never stop fighting for them as their Senator,” it said. It also said Trump has signed eight Tester bills on veterans into law.

The White House said Friday that internal records raise doubt about some of the most serious accusations. It said its records, including police reports, show Jackson was in three minor incidents in government vehicles in the past five years, but none involved alcohol and he was not found to be at fault. In one case, a side-view mirror was clipped by a passing truck. In another, an enraged driver allegedly punched out Jackson’s window during a drive to Camp David.

The Associated Press reviewed the documents Friday. They were the result of an internal White House review of allegations raised against Jackson during his brief confirmation process.

A spokeswoman on Friday said Tester’s office would not comment until it knew more about the White House records.