President Trump on Sunday blasted “60 Minutes” for highlighting another “Fake Whistleblower,” whom the president said is simply seeking to hurt his administration’s coronavirus response in an effort to aid the “Radical Left Democrats.”
The CBS show focused on Rick Bright, who once headed up the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). Bright claimed the Trump administration did not respond swiftly to the virus and charged that Trump was more worried about politics. He also blamed Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar for ignoring early warnings about COVID-19.
In the show, which skews heavily liberal, Bright said there was a Jan. 23 meeting in which he was the only official to take the virus seriously, saying he said: “We’re going to need vaccines and diagnostics and drugs. It’s going to take a while and we need to get started.”
Bright also told host Norah O’Donnell that he objected to Trump’s endorsement of hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment for the virus, which he claimed as the reason he was fired. “I believe my last-ditch effort to protect Americans from that drug was the final straw that they used and believed was essential to push me out,” he said.
Trump called that all poppycock.
“@60Minutes & third place anchor, @NorahODonnell, are doing everything in their power to demean our Country, much to the benefit of the Radical Left Democrats. Tonight they put on yet another Fake ‘Whistleblower,’ a disgruntled employee who supports Dems, fabricates stories, & … 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.?” Trump wrote on Twitter.
In testimony last week before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Bright said the U.S. could face “the darkest winter in modern history” if the virus has a second wave. In his “60 Minutes” interview, he said, “We don’t yet have a national strategy to respond fully to this pandemic. The best scientists that we have in our government who are working really hard to try to figure this out aren’t getting that clear, cohesive leadership, strategic plan message yet. Until they get that, it’s still gonna be chaotic.”
Said Trump: “..This whole Whistleblower racket needs to be looked at very closely, it is causing great injustice & harm. I hope you are listening @SenSusanCollins. I also hope that Shari Redstone will take a look at her poorly performing gang. She knows how to make things right!” Redstone is the head of CBS.
“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,” Fox News reported. “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.”