Navarro says whistleblower 'deserted' in an 'American tragedy'

Navarro says whistleblower 'deserted' in an 'American tragedy'
© Greg Nash

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said Sunday that whistleblower  Richard Bright “deserted” the U.S. in an “American tragedy” when he authored a report criticizing the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Navarro told ABC’s “This Week” that the “quite-talented” Bright was asked to lead as field commander of testing at the National Institutes of Health, “but instead of accepting that mission, he deserted.”

“He went into a fox hole, wrote up the complaint and now he’s part of a Capitol Hill partisan circus where he’s just become another pawn in the game,” he said. 

“And the tragedy, ... is this man has talent,” he added. “He’s a smart man. We could have used him on the battlefield. He’s not there now, and it was because of decisions that he made.”

ABC’s George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosSanders pushes back on doubts supporters will back Biden Sunday shows - Trump trade adviser knocks Obama, whistleblower, CDC Navarro says whistleblower 'deserted' in an 'American tragedy' MORE asked Navarro why Bright, whose expertise is vaccines, would work on diagnostic testing. Navarro responded with a laugh, saying he was supposed to focus on trade policy and is now “a conscript in the war on the China virus.”

"We do what we have to do when we have to do it for this country, and Rick Bright – he made a choice,” Navarro said.

The House requested Navarro testify alongside Bright because of the trade adviser’s large role in the whistleblower's complaint.

But the White House said Navarro would not testify last week.

Instead, Bright testified alone last Thursday, saying the country needs a national plan to overcome the coronavirus. The ousted official also said the administration ignored his warnings about supply shortages as early as January.