US President Donald Trump said Thursday that senior government scientist, Dr. Rich Bright, “should not work” with his administration.
“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 said on Twitter.
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
The president’s remarks came in conjunction with Bright’s testimony before Congress.
Bright, who was the director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, told lawmakers Thursday that scientists must be allowed to speak “without fear of retribution.”
“We have the world’s greatest scientists. Let us lead,” he said. “Each of us can and must do our part now.”
Bright filed a whistle-blower complaint last week against the Trump administration for “ignoring coronavirus warnings” and for removing him from his post because of his “objection at a virus treatment.”
He said in the complaint he voiced his concerns about coronavirus preparedness in the US multiple times starting in January but was met with “indifference which then developed into hostility” by leaders of the Health and Human Services Department (HHS).
He also claimed he was reassigned to a lesser role because he pushed back on HHS’ plan to allow the widespread use of some drugs, including hydroxychloroquine.
Hydroxychloroquine is an anti-malarial drug currently studied by experts as a potential treatment of COVID-19 and touted as useful by Trump.
The US is the country hardest-hit by the global pandemic with nearly 1.4 million cases and more than 84,200 fatalities, according to a running tally of Johns Hopkins University. In all, nearly 243,500 people have recovered from the virus.
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