Report: Kushner/Pence Sidelined HHS Head For Telling Trump Truth About COVID-19
There have been a number of recent reports detailing how Donald Trump was told about the severity of COVID-19 weeks and months before he acted. The President was quick to declare a specific New York Times story to be “fake news.”
On name prominently featured in the New York Times story is Health and Human Services Chief Alex Azar. Azar had told Trump about the potential human and economic destruction of the pandemic. According to a new story from the Daily Beast, Jared Kushner and Mike Pence have “sidelined” Azar from the pandemic response team for not sugarcoating the news for the President.
Daily Beast reporter Eleanor Clift writes of Azar, “Stylistically, they couldn’t be more different, and Trump doesn’t like bearers of bad news. He’s happy to suck up to the president once in a while, but he’s not going to change data or tell lies for anybody.He’s a highly ethical person.”
And this personality clash has hurt Azar’s efforts to speak with Trump about the pandemic. Clift continues:
Speaking truth to power has its price in the Trump administration. The former Eli Lilly executive was shouted down by White House aides as ‘alarmist’ and sidelined by Jared Kushner, Mike Pence and others willing to give the president a more rosy view. And on Sunday night, Trump lashed out at Azar by name for the first time, following a New York Time report that Azar had ‘directly warned Mr. Trump of the possibility of a pandemic during a call on Jan. 30, the second warning he delivered to the president about the virus in two weeks.'”
Azar has been absent from recent COVID-19 press briefings. He could soon be on the chopping block.