oh ok

A couple weeks ago, Donald Trump's Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) fired Dr. Rick Bright — who was America's very qualified chief of vaccines as well as a pandemic expert — from his job, by pretending they were giving him a new exciting SECRET MISSHUN at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Until then, he was director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response at HHS. He was fired because he (a scientist expert) refused to go along with the administration's obsession with promoting Trump's favorite malaria drug, Hydroxybonercream 3000, as the miracle cure for the novel coronavirus. (Truly, it sounds like he was fired for a lot of reasons — all of them corrupt, all of them because Bright insisted on real science and not doing corruption crimes — and Trumpy Hydroxybonercream 3000 was just the final straw.)

Then we read his whistleblower complaint, and oh my good lord, it was one of the most horrifying things we've read since the beginning of this pandemic, and we have read a lot of things! The corruption, the rot, the abject stupidity Dr. Bright described — they are not the exception to the rule in the Trump administration response to COVID-19. They are the response.

Bright is testifying before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health tomorrow morning, and yes, we are liveblogging it. We already have Bright's opening statement, though, and oh boy, this is going to be a shitshow. A ZOOM SHITSHOW, because we are still in a pandemic. Expect lots of technical difficulties and photobombing dogs farting! (At least we assume.)

Bright's message? WINTER IS COMING. At least if we don't get off Trump's shitty do-nothing "everybody get sick and die for Trump's beautiful economy!" train. And if we don't have a "national coordinated strategy" to address the pandemic and the economic depression that's come along with the Trump response to the pandemic, and if the government doesn't use the "guidance of the best scientific minds" available, well ...

Well, let's let Dr. Bright deliver the bad news.


Our window of opportunity is closing. If we fail to develop a national coordinated response, based in science, I fear the pandemic will get far worse and be prolonged, causing unprecedented illness and fatalities. While it is terrifying to acknowledge the extent of the challenge that we currently confront, the undeniable fact is there will be a resurgence of the COVID19 this fall, greatly compounding the challenges of seasonal influenza and putting an unprecedented strain on our health care system. Without clear planning and implementation of the steps that I and other experts have outlined, 2020 will be the darkest winter in modern history.

It'll be even worse if Trump manages to get "re-elected" in November, but Dr. Bright did not say that, as he is a perfessional.

So yes, told you he said WINTER IS COMING.

Bright ticks off/reiterates some of the low points of his whistleblower complaint:

  • How he tried in January to get virus samples to start developing therapeutics, to warn HHS about what was rapidly coming America's way, but HHS told him to go fuck himself with a beaker like the science nerd he is.
  • How he tried to warn them about PPE shortages, but HHS told him to fuck off, see above.
  • How HHS got real mad at him when he found a way to talk directly to the White House about what was going on.
  • How he got fired when he refused to foist Trump's chosen snake oil-hydroxy-cure on the American people, just because there was no science to show it would help rather than hurt coronavirus patients.

And he offers some suggestions for how to handle this going forward. STEP ONE: Stop lying to the American people! "They want the truth. They can handle the truth," Bright writes, and he is correct, at least about the 54 percent of Americans in a recent poll who say the Trump administration is doing a piss-poor job responding to the pandemic.

He says the scientists must lead our response, because obviously he wants to make Dr. Anthony Fauci a dictator-for-life, just like Tucker Carlson warned us.

He says maybe we should listen to the fuckin' CDC, like we did during Ebola and H1N1 and Zika virus and all the other outbreaks that didn't kill over 80,000 Americans (at least, and counting) over the course of a fortnight. Why, Dr. Bright says, the CDC sometimes teaches Americans very interesting and helpful things:

As an example, in 2009, the CDC, along with Elmo, taught Americans how to sneeze in a way that minimizes risk of contagion. Today, we need clear and simple messages to teach us how to wear a face cover, when and how to safely go outside or back to work or back to school. It's that simple.

That's right, Dr. Bright would like Dr. Fauci and Dr. Elmo the Muppet to make a CDC video to TEACH YOU STUPID-ASS RED-LOBSTER-MUNCHING KARENS HOW TO WEAR A FUCKING MASK TO PROTECT EACH OTHER IN PUBLIC, JESUS CHRIST IT IS NOT THAT HARD, KAREN, AND THE ONLY THING WORTH EATING AT RED LOBSTER ANYWAY IS THE CHEDDAR BAY BISCUITS, KAREN, AND YOU CAN MAKE THOSE AT HOME NOW, KAREN.

We would watch that video, and we aren't even too dumb to figure out "mask" for ourselves. Especially if Elmo loses his shit a little bit.

Dr. Bright has many more advices, which he will share with Congress, and which you can read for yourself in his opening statement. Surprise, one of them is a national testing strategy, which we still do not have.

He concludes:

As I reflect on the past few months of this outbreak, it is painfully clear that we were not as prepared as we should have been. We missed early warning signals and we forgot important pages from our pandemic playbook.

Yeah, like all the pages Barack Obama left the Trump administration in the literal pandemic playbook they prepared, the one Trump threw in the trash with whatever vegetables they were trying to trick him into eating that day.

Anyway:

We will either be remembered for what we did or for what we failed to do to address this crisis. I call on all of us to act – to ensure the health, safety, and prosperity of all Americans. You can count on me to continue to do my part.

10 a.m., dickheads. Be here. We shall go forth and liveblog this shit together!

OPEN THREAD, HIT IT.

[Bright opening statement]

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Evan Hurst

Evan Hurst is the senior editor of Wonkette, which means he is the boss of you, unless you are Rebecca, who is boss of him. His dog Lula is judging you right now.

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