Trump says former vaccine chief 'seems disgruntled'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Bob Woodward book will include details of 25 personal letters between Trump and Kim Jong Un On The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' Biden commemorates anniversary of Charlottesville 'Unite the Right' rally: 'We are in a battle for the soul of our nation' MORE on Wednesday blasted a former top federal scientist who filed a whistleblower complaint against his administration, likening him to a "disgruntled employee."

When asked by a reporter in the Oval Office about Rick Bright, the former head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), Trump said he'd only just learned about him earlier in the day.

"I never met Dr. Bright. I don’t know who he is. I didn’t hear good things about him. I did not hear good things about him at all," Trump said. "And to me he seems like a disgruntled employee that’s trying to help the Democrats win an election."

ADVERTISEMENT

Bright led the agency that was focused on helping fund potential treatments for infectious diseases, including COVID-19, until his ouster late last month. 

He filed a formal whistleblower complaint on Tuesday with the Office of Special Counsel, alleging he was moved to a lower position at the National Institutes of Health because of his efforts to "prioritize science and safety over political expediency."

Bright specifically referenced his refusal to promote the broad use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, two anti-malaria drugs that Trump touted as potential "game changers" for treating COVID-19 without offering evidence.

Trump in his remarks pushing back on the whistleblower complaint Wednesday alluded to the fact that Bright's attorney is the same one who represented Christine Blasey Ford, the Stanford professor who accused Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughBiden hits back after Trump's attacks on Harris Trump and allies grapple with how to target Harris Joe Biden played it safe MORE of sexual assault.

"He certainly seemed to have a well packaged deal, he's got the same lawyers as some other well known people had," Trump said of Bright.