Tags: rick bright | whistleblower | trump

Coronavirus Whistleblower Rick Bright Speaks Out on 60 Minutes

dr. rick bright testifies on capitol hill in a grey suit, white dress shirt and orange tie
Dr. Rick Bright testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health on May 14, 2019, in Washington, D.C. (Shawn Thew/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 14 May 2020 11:31 AM

Vaccine expert Rick Bright will appear in his first TV interview since he was removed from his job as director of Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority on Sunday.

Bright will appear on CBS’ “60 Minutes” in a sit-down interview with Norah O’Donnell.

He will share that the Trump administration didn’t take early warnings he sounded about the coronavirus seriously. He outlines how he was dismissed by senior White House officials in a whistleblower complaint he filed. He will also discuss how his reassignment from BARDA to a job at the National Institutes of Health is detrimental to the country’s response in fighting the outbreak. 

"BARDA has laid out a road-map and a strategy in how we need to get through this pandemic and work with industry to make the drugs and vaccines and diagnostics available," Bright told 60 Minutes. "Taking me out as the leader of BARDA in the middle of this pandemic has really set our country back in our ability to make those vaccines and drugs available as quickly as possible.”

When O’Donnell asked him if he had spent his entire career preparing for a moment like this, he said, “That’s pretty precise.”

He said he “absolutely” expected a pandemic like this to happen at some point in time.

“We exercise for these type of pandemics,” he said, adding the government has been through Ebola, Zika, H1N1 and other public health outbreaks. “We anticipated we would have another pandemic.” 

“This was not a new thing for us, we knew exactly what to do,” he told O'Donnell. 

He said BARDA, which is tasked with working with the private sector to respond to pandemics, was “created for his moment.”

His complaint alleges he was removed from his job at BARDA because he disagreed with the president's request to promote access an unproven drug as a treatment for the virus. His complaint is currently being reviewed. 

When asked about Trump's comments from Davos about having a plan to combat coronavirus, Bright said there were many plans. But he said many of the federal government’s pandemic response plans are “still on the shelf.” 

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Vaccine expert Rick Bright will appear in his first TV interview since he was removed from his job as director of Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority on Sunday
rick bright, whistleblower, trump
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2020-31-14
Thursday, 14 May 2020 11:31 AM
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