In an upcoming interview with CBS News’ 60 Minutes, Rick Bright, the former head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), spoke about the whistleblower complaint he filed regarding what he says is the federal government’s bungled response to the coronavirus.
Responding to President Trump, who called him a “disgruntled employee,” Bright accused Trump of ignoring warnings from scientists who could have prevented the current death toll from the outbreak. He even became emotional while talking about the doctors and nurses who’ve been affected.
“I am not disgruntled,” he said in the interview set to air May 17. “I am frustrated at a lack of leadership. I am frustrated at a lack of urgency to get a head start on developing lifesaving tools for Americans. I’m frustrated at our inability to be heard as scientists. Those things frustrate me.”
“We see too many doctors and nurses now dying,” Bright continued, getting emotional. “And I was thinking that we could have done more to get those masks and those supplies to them sooner. And if we had, would they still be alive today? It’s a horrible thought to think about the time that passed where we could’ve done something and we didn’t.”
As Newsweek points out, as far back as late January Bright sent emails warning people in the federal government about the impending threat of a coronavirus outbreak. According to him, the opinions of scientists were “roundly rejected and dismissed” by the Trump administration for weeks. The Trump administration claims that Bright’s removal from BARDA was not retaliatory and maintains that he was moved to the new National Institutes of Health role to work on testing.
Watch the preview of Bright’s interview below: