Ousted official responds to Trump: 'I'm frustrated at a lack of leadership'

A former top federal scientist who was ousted from his role and filed a whistleblower complaint against the Trump administration pushed back against President TrumpDonald John TrumpTwitter CEO: 'Not true' that removing Trump campaign video was illegal, as president has claimed Biden formally clinches Democratic presidential nomination Barr says he didn't give 'tactical' command to clear Lafayette protesters MORE’s remarks that he’s disgruntled, saying he is “frustrated” with the government’s leadership.

"I am not disgruntled," Rick Bright, the former head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, said in a preview of an interview with CBS News. "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." 

Bright was helming the agency that was focused on funding potential treatments for infectious diseases, but was ousted from his role in late April amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

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Bright filed a formal whistleblower complaint with the Office of Special Counsel, saying he was demoted for trying to "prioritize science and safety over political expediency."

Bright specifically referenced his refusal to promote the broad use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, two antimalarial drugs that Trump touted as potential "game changers" for treating COVID-19 despite a lack of evidence.

Trump slammed Bright this week at a press conference, saying he never met the scientist and casting him as a “disgruntled” worker.

"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."

Bright in his interview with CBS maintained his criticism of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus, saying that the White House was slow to make necessary tools like masks and ventilators available.

"We see too many doctors and nurses now dying," Bright said. "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," he added.