Coronavirus presents unprecedented challenges to public policy and the electoral process.
Rick Bright, former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) has filed a whistleblower complaint about his reassignment.
Dr. Bright was removed as BARDA Director and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in the midst of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic because his efforts to prioritize science and safety over political expediency and to expose practices that posed a substantial risk to public health and safety, especially as it applied to chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, rankled those in the Administration who wished to continue to push this false narrative. Similarly, Dr. Bright clearly earned the enmity of HHS leadership when his communications with members of Congress, certain White House officials, and the press – all of whom were, like him, intent on identifying concrete measures to combat this deadly virus – revealed the lax and dismissive attitude HHS leadership exhibited in the face of the deadly threat confronting our country. After first insisting that Dr. Bright was being transferred to the National Institutes of Health (“NIH”) because he was a victim of his own success, HHS leadership soon changed its tune and unleashed a baseless smear campaign against him, leveling demonstrably false allegations about his performance in an attempt to justify what was clearly a retaliatoryAlice Mirand Ollstein and Adam Cancryn at Politico:
President Donald Trump boasted on May 1 that his success in responding to the coronavirus pandemic has made ventilator, test kit and mask shortages a thing of the past, and that much of the country is ready to quickly send people back to work.
“We’ve ensured a ventilator for every patient who needs one,” he said. “The testing and the masks and all of the things, we’ve solved every problem. We solved it quickly.”
But that same day, his own health and emergency management officials were privately warning that states were still experiencing shortages of masks, gowns and other medical gear, according to a recording of an interagency meeting between FEMA and HHS officials across the country, conducted by conference call, which was obtained by POLITICO.
Trump’s federal “Stay at Home” guidelines had quietly expired the night before, leaving states to manage the pandemic as they saw fit. The officials also expressed concern that governors moving to reopen their economies while cases were still prevalent threatened to plunge the nation into a new and potentially deadlier chapter of the outbreak.
“The numbers of deaths definitely will be high,” Daniel Jernigan, director of the Center for Disease Control’s influenza division, said at the start of a May 1 conference call. Jernigan did not respond to an emailed request for comment.
I can think of no better metaphor for this presidency than Donald Trump not wearing a face mask to a face mask factory while the song “Live and Let Die” blares in the background. pic.twitter.com/mJzU1HW7HA— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) May 5, 2020