President Trump late Sunday accused CBS’ “60 Minutes” of putting the spotlight on another “Fake Whistleblower” who wants to inflict damage on his administration's coronavirus response in order to benefit the "Radical Left Democrats."
Rick Bright, who has a Ph.D. in virology and ran the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, reiterated earlier claims that the government was slow to respond to the unfolding pandemic and said the administration was instead worried about politics instead of science. He blamed Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar of not heeding an early warning about the virus.
“I knew that all of the signs for a pandemic were present,” says government scientist Rick Bright. “It was just a matter of time before that virus then jumped and left China and appeared in other countries.” https://t.co/vEgWhfcD6r pic.twitter.com/oepCICNRO0— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) May 17, 2020
....spews lies. @60Minutes report was incorrect, which they couldn’t care less about. Fake News! I don’t know this guy, never met him, but don’t like what I see. How can a creep like this show up to work tomorrow & report to @SecAzar, his boss, after trashing him on T.V.?....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 18, 2020
Bright was removed from his BARDA position in April and reassigned to a post at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), but he has yet to show up at that post. HHS denied Bright’s claim that he was unfairly demoted, and blamed him of “politicizing the response” to the virus. HHS told “60 Minutes” that it was Bright who made the request for an emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine.
“Bright was transferred from his role as BARDA director to lead a bold new $1 billion testing program at NIH, critical to saving lives and reopening America,” an HHS spokesperson said in a statement last week. “Mr. Bright has not yet shown up for work, but continues to collect his $285,010 salary, while using his taxpayer-funded medical leave to work with partisan attorneys who are politicizing the response to COVID-19.”
Navarro also pointed out that Bright refused to lead a $1 billion program to get testing to Americans.
"I thought Bright's 'sky is falling' warnings really weren't comporting with reality, boots on the ground," White House trade adviser Peter Navarro reacted on Fox News.
From January, "this White House was off and running" on vaccine development, therapeutics and the rapid production of resources like N95 masks, Navarro argued. They've made "great progress" on each of those fronts.
President Trump, who says he "never met" Bright, labeled him "an angry, disgruntled employee who frankly, according to some people, didn't do a very good job." But Navarro shared an even more unflattering description.
"He's not just a disgruntled employee, in my judgment," Navarro said of Bright. "He's a deserter in the war on the China virus."