Trump Dismisses HHS Inspector General’s Report That Found Ongoing Testing Shortages: ‘Could Politics Be Entered Into That?’
Confronted by a reporter at his daily press briefing, President Donald Trump brusquely dismissed an internal government report that found hospitals across the country are still suffering from widespread testing shortages and delayed results.
After starting the daily coronavirus task force press conference by boasting about the country’s ramped-up testing, Trump was clearly frustrated when Fox News’ Kristin Fisher asked him about the Health and Human Services Inspector General’s latest survey on testing. That HHS IG report, from the latter part of March, interviewed officials from more than 300 hospitals in 46 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. The IG found “severe shortages of testing supplies and extended waits for test results limited hospitals’ ability to monitor the health of patients and staff.” The hospitals also noted that they were still falling short of COVID-19 testing demands because they either lacked complete kits or the subsidiary parts to finish tests.
Faced with a document that directly conflicted with his own administration’s narrative on testing response, Trump instead cast suspicion on the author of the report, the HHS Principal Deputy Inspector General. This move came just days after he fired the Intelligence Community’s Inspector General late on Friday night, claiming a loss of confidence in the latter for informing Congress about the Ukraine whistleblower report that ultimately led to his impeachment.
Before the reporter could finish spelling out the details of the report in her question, Trump cut her off.
“It’s just wrong. Did I hear the word ‘inspector general?’ Really? It’s wrong,” a clearly annoyed Trump shot back.
“This is your own government…” the reporter pointed out.
“It’s — where did it come from? What is his name?” Trump replied, clearly not aware that the HHS IG is in fact a woman, Christi Grimm.
“But sir…these are hospitals that say they’re waiting a week…” the reporter said, redirecting back to the report.
“What is his name?” Trump insisted, trying to deflect the conversation away from the report.
“I don’t know his name.”
“If you find me his name, I would appreciate it.”
Grimm began her service in government in 1999 and has served in the Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations. She was appointed to the HHS IG office in 2014 and was promoted to Principal Deputy Inspector General earlier this year. Inspectors General are typically career civil servants who act as the government’s internal watchdog to police mismanagement and graft.
“We’ve done more testing and had more results than any country anywhere in the world,” Trump responded, again not addressing the report’s findings before overtly questioning the integrity of someone he had no knowledge of their personal history. “So, give me the name of the inspector general. Could politics be entered into that?”
And with that, he moved on to another question.
Watch the video above, via MSNBC.
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