Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar ripped into Dr. Rick Bright on Thursday for claiming he was fired from his position at the department for repeatedly questioning the use of Hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for positive COVID-19 cases.
Bright testified before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce's health subcommittee about the complaint he filed and how the Trump administration failed to take the early warning about COVID-19 seriously.
Dr. Rick Bright testifies on the US coronavirus response: "If we fail to improve our response now — based on science — I fear the pandemic will get worse and be prolonged ... Without better planning, 2020 could be the darkest winter in modern history" https://t.co/0oEXFoJ5Bx pic.twitter.com/FDpcHC1l6M— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) May 14, 2020
While leaving the White House with President Trump, Sec. Azar said all of Bright's concerns have been addressed under Trump's leadership.
"Everything he’s complaining about was achieved. Everything he talked about was done. He says he talked about the need for respirators. We procured respirators under the President’s direction. He said we need a Manhattan Project for vaccines. This President initiates a vaccine Manhattan Project, diagnostic Manhattan Project, therapeutic Manhattan Project. Oh, and, by the way, whose job was that you actually lead the development of vaccines? Dr. Bright’s. So, while we are launching 'Operation Warp Speed,' he's not showing up for work to be part of that," Sec. Azar said.
Sec. Azar said that Bright was the original sponsor for the Food and Drug Administration authorization for the use of Hydroxychloroquine.
"So, this is like somebody who was in a choir and is now trying to say he was a soloist back then. What he was saying is what every member of this administration and the president was saying. We need more personal protective equipment, we did more ventilators, we need therapeutics, we need vaccines. Every single thing. This President was on, this President achieved, and Dr. Bright was part of a team and was simply saying what everybody else at the White House and at HHS was saying. Not one bit of difference," he continued. "And Hydroxychloroquine, Dr. Bright literally signed the application for FDA authorization of it. Literally, he is the sponsor of it. So, his allegations do not hold water. They do not hold water."
President Trump added, "We have had some great response in terms of doctors writing letters, people calling on the Hydroxychloroquine. This guy is fighting it. No reason to fight it. There’s no reason."
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