Thursday, May 7, 2020

Trump Demotes Government Scientist for Raising Alarm ↦

Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Michael Balsamo, and Colleen Long reporting for the Associated Press:

Dr. Rick Bright, former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, alleges he was reassigned to a lesser role because he resisted political pressure to allow widespread use of hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug pushed by President Donald Trump. [...]

“I witnessed government leadership rushing blindly into a potentially dangerous situation by bringing in a non-FDA approved chloroquine from Pakistan and India, from facilities that had never been approved by the FDA,” Bright said Tuesday on a call with reporters. “Their eagerness to push blindly forward without sufficient data to put this drug into the hands of Americans was alarming to me and my fellow scientists.”

Dr. Bright further alleges that his attempts to spur action early on met with resistance from Trump Administration officials, including Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec. Specific efforts to acquire N95 respirator masks as early as January and February were ignored. He also alleges that there pressure to award contracts to the well-connected:

“Time after time I was pressured to ignore or dismiss expert scientific recommendations and instead to award lucrative contracts based on political connections,” Bright said in the call with reporters. “In other words, I was pressured to let politics and cronyism drive decisions over the opinions of the best scientists we have in government.”

So often, underneath the lies and incompetence constantly coming from the Trump Administration, we also find grift. He is without a doubt the most corrupt President of the modern era and very likely ever.