Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Thursday publicly criticized vaccine official Dr. Rick Bright for complaining to House Democrats about President Trump’s failure to prepare for the coronavirus pandemic.
“Everything he’s complaining about was achieved. Everything he talks about was done,” Azar said, noting that Bright was echoing merely officials talking about the need for ventilators, a “Manhattan project for vaccines,” and acquiring personal protection equipment.
Azar criticized Bright on Thursday as he left the White House for a trip with Trump to visit a Pennsylvania medical equipment distribution business.
He noted that Bright was now complaining instead of working on the Operation Warp Speed project to develop a coronavirus vaccine.
“Whose job was it to actually lead the development of vaccines?” Azar asked. “Dr. Bright. So while we’re launching Operation Warp Speed, he’s not showing up for work to be part of that.”
Azar said that Bright was only repeating the same advice that everyone in the administration was proposing as the coronavirus hit the United States.
“This is like somebody who was in a choir and is now trying to say he was a soloist back then,” he said. “What he was saying is what every single member of this administration was saying.”
Azar said that Dr. Bright signed the application for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorization of the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus, despite his complaints.
“Literally he’s the sponsor of it,” Azar said. “His allegations do not hold water.”
Trump also dismissed Bright’s House testimony on Thursday.
“I’ll tell you what, to me, he’s nothing more than a really disgruntled, unhappy person,” Trump said, adding that he never met the doctor. “I don’t know him. I never met. I don’t want to meet him, but I watched him, and he looks like an angry, disgruntled employee who, frankly, according to some people, didn’t do a very good job.”C-SPAN