President Donald Trump on Thursday slammed health official Rick Bright as a “disgruntled employee” and said he should “no longer” be working for the federal government shortly before the vaccine doctor was slated to testify before a House panel about the Trump administration’s response to the novel coronavirus.
“I don’t know the so-called Whistleblower Rick Bright, never met him or even heard of him, but to me he is a disgruntled employee, not liked or respected by people I spoke to and who, with his attitude, should no longer be working for our government!” Trump tweeted Thursday morning.
Bright, who served at the helm of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) from 2016 until last month, is expected to deliver critical testimony to a House committee later Thursday saying that the Trump administration was unprepared for the coronavirus pandemic. He plans to warn that without a national coordinated response this year will be “the darkest winter in modern history,” according to The Hill, citing a leaked copy of his prepared remarks.
Bright was reassigned to a narrower position based at the National Institutes of Health after criticizing the president’s response to the pandemic.
He filed a whistleblower complaint following his reassignment alleging that his early warnings about the virus were met with indifference at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and that his efforts to push back on the use of a coronavirus treatment touted by Trump, hydroxychloroquine, contributed to his removal from the high-level post.
I don’t know the so-called Whistleblower Rick Bright, never met him or even heard of him, but to me he is a disgruntled employee, not liked or respected by people I spoke to and who, with his attitude, should no longer be working for our government!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 14, 2020
Bright is seeking to be reinstated in his former position and asked for a full investigation into the decision to reassign him.