‘We Could Have Done More’: Trump Administration Whistleblower Explains Failures in Coronavirus Response

‘We Could Have Done More’: Trump Administration Whistleblower Explains Failures in Coronavirus Response

The whistleblower who accused the Trump administration of retaliation for raising objections about an unproven drug favored by the president criticized the White House over its missteps in its effort to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.

Dr. Rick Bright, former head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), spoke with CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell. A preview of his 60 minutes interview was aired Friday night.

“The president called you a disgruntled employee,” O’Donnell said.

“I am not disgruntled,” Bright replied. “I am frustrated at a lack of leadership. I am frustrated at a lack of urgency to get a head start on developing life-saving tools for Americans. I’m frustrated at our inability to be heard as scientists. Those things frustrate me.”

O’Donnell then referenced some of Bright’s emails from January in which he warned that the administration lacked enough personal protective equipment.

“We see too many doctors and nurses now dying. And I was thinking that we could have done more to get those masks and those supplies to them sooner,” Bright said. “And if we had, would they still be alive today? That’s a horrible thought to think about the time that passed where we could have done something and we didn’t.”

Bright then explained why he didn’t accept his reassignment to the National Institute of Health.

“I’m the director of BARDA,” Bright said. “To take me out of our organization focused on drugs and vaccines and diagnostics in the middle of a pandemic, the worst public health crisis that our country has faced in a century, and decapitate the BARDA organization, to move me over to a very small focused project of any scale, of any level of importance is not responsible, didn’t make sense.”

Watch the video above, via CBS News.

William Vaillancourt

William Vaillancourt

William Vaillancourt is a writer and editor from New Hampshire whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Progressive, Slate and Areo Magazine, among other places. He holds a BA in Political Science and History from Boston University.