pictureRecognition…U.S. Department of Health
WASHINGTON – President Trump moved Friday night to replace a top official from the Department of Health and Human Services, who angered him last month with a report highlighting hospital shortages and test delays during the coronavirus pandemic.
The White House waited until after business hours to announce the appointment of a new inspector general for the department, who, if confirmed, would take over Christ A. Grimm, the principal deputy inspector general, who was publicly attacked by the president at a press conference before three Weeks.
Mr Trump has attempted to gain more authority over his administration and to clear out officials who have been classified as insufficiently loyal in the three months since his impeachment proceedings against the Senate for largely abusing power and congressional disability were classified as insufficiently loyal. While Inspectors General are appointed by the President, they are said to be semi-autonomous watchdogs that track down waste, fraud and corruption in executive agencies.
The cleanup continued unabated during the coronavirus pandemic, which killed approximately 65,000 people in the United States. Ms. Grimm's actual case merged the conflict over Mr. Trump's response to the outbreak with his determination to remove those he believed to be against him.
Their report, which was released last month and is based on extensive interviews with hospitals across the country, identified critical supply shortages and revealed that hundreds of medical centers had difficulty getting test kits, protective equipment for employees, and ventilators. Mr Trump was embarrassed by the report at a time when he was already under attack because he had downplayed the virus threat and was not acting fast enough to speed up the tests and provide equipment to doctors and nurses.
"It's just wrong," said the president when asked about the report on April 6. "Did I hear the word" Inspector General "?" Really? "It's wrong. And they'll talk to you about it. It's wrong." Then he wanted to find out who wrote the report. "Where did he come from, the Inspector General? What is his name? No, what's his name? What is his name?"
When the reporter didn't know, Mr. Trump insisted. "Well, find me his name," said the president. "Let me know."
After Mr. Trump learned that Ms. Grimm had worked during President Barack Obama's tenure, he claimed the report was politically biased. In fact, Ms. Grimm is not a political officer, but a career officer who started working for the General Inspectorate late in President Bill Clinton's term and served under President George W. Bush and Mr. Obama. She took over the role of actress when the previous inspector general stepped down.
Mr. Trump was fearless and attacked her on Twitter. "Why did the IG, who worked for the Obama administration for 8 years (did she report the failed H1N1 swine flu debacle that left 17,000 people dead?) Did not want to deal with the admirals, generals, VP and other leaders before she did write their report, "he wrote, characterizing the government's widely acclaimed response to the 2009 epidemic, which actually killed about 12,000 people in the United States." Another fake dossier! "
To serve as Inspector General, Mr. Trump appointed Jason C. Weida, a United States attorney general in Boston, on Friday evening. The White House said in its announcement that it had "monitored numerous complex health and other health surveys." It must be confirmed by the Senate before taking up the position.
Among several other nominations announced on Friday was the President's election for a new ambassador to Ukraine to fill a position most recently filled by Marie L. Yovanovitch.
Ms. Yovanovitch was released a year ago because the presidential advisers viewed her as an obstacle in trying to pressure the Kiev government to burden Mr Trump's democratic rivals. These efforts to gain political benefit from Ukraine while at the same time withholding security aid led to Mr. Trump's impeachment in December, which was largely partisan.
Mr. Trump selected Lt. Gen. Keith W. Dayton, a 40-year-old retired officer who is now the director of George C. Marshall's European Center for Security Studies in Germany. Mr. Dayton speaks Russian and served as a defense attaché in Moscow. More recently, he served as the United States' chief defense adviser in Ukraine and was appointed by Trump's first Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis.