Trump seeks to replace HHS watchdog who reported hospital shortages
The White House on Friday announced President Trump’s new pick to serve as the Department of Health and Human Services’s (HHS) inspector general after the president excoriated the official currently serving as the agency’s watchdog.
The White House announced in a press release the nomination of Jason Weida to fill the role at HHS. Weida is currently serving as an assistant U.S. attorney in Boston and previously worked in the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Policy.
Prior to entering the government, Weida worked in private practice and clerked for judges on the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, District Court for the District of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Supreme Court.
The nomination comes after blistering criticism by Trump of Christi Grimm, the principal deputy inspector general, over a report that found hospitals lacked the protective equipment and testing needed to effectively combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump compared the “wrong” report to allegations made about his connections to Russia, and slammed Grimm for authoring it.
“Why didn’t the I.G., who spent 8 years with the Obama Administration (Did she Report on the failed H1N1 Swine Flu debacle where 17,000 people died?), want to talk to the Admirals, Generals, V.P. & others in charge, before doing her report. Another Fake Dossier!” Trump tweeted.
Why didn’t the I.G., who spent 8 years with the Obama Administration (Did she Report on the failed H1N1 Swine Flu debacle where 17,000 people died?), want to talk to the Admirals, Generals, V.P. & others in charge, before doing her report. Another Fake Dossier!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 7, 2020
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 12,469 people in the U.S. died of swine flu, while data at the time of the criticism showed that more than 11,000 people had died of coronavirus.
The report fueled escalating criticism of the White House’s early handling of the coronavirus, with the administration’s detractors pointing to calls from hospitals and governors for increased federal assistance with obtaining personal protection equipment.