‘As the director of BARDA, I feel like you’re in quite a stressful position when you’re trying to manage, um—a pandemic?’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Rick Bright, former Director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, was exposed during his House testimony for playing hooky—sort of—while continuing to draw a federal government paycheck of $285,000.
After Bright came forward last month claiming to be a “whistleblower” who was persecuted for his dissenting opinion on the Trump-endorsed use of hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment, left-wing media deceptively heralded him for his heroism.
It was quickly revealed, though, that Bright’s removal from his job as BARDA director had been a year in the making, largely due to past issues of insubordination, and that he had, in fact, advocated for the ordering and distribution of the anti-malaria drug before he turned against it.
During four minutes of questioning on Thursday with Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., Bright further confessed that he had spent the last three weeks on sick leave for high blood pressure since being removed from his former position.
“I had a conversation with my physician about my hypertension and how we’ve been managing it over the last three weeks, because this has been very stressful to be removed suddenly without explanation from my role or position,” Bright testified.
“It’s a life change for me, and my physician has been working very closely with me to manage my hypertension and, and stress,” he said.
However, unlike many Americans suffering financially during the coronavirus shutdown—which Bright and his Democratic allies hope to extend indefinitely, pending a scientifically approved vaccine—he never actually lost his job.
Bright was instead transferred to the National Institutes of Health for a yet unspecified position—which does involve a pay cut—although he conceded he had yet to actually report and had only begun the process of routine pre-employment screenings.
“I’ve checked in with the NIH director’s office and we’ve discussed the onboarding process—the fingerprinting process,” he said, “and we have called, just last evening, to discuss the framework of my responsibilities that they have envisioned.”
He admitted that he didn’t even know, exactly, where his last paycheck came from.
“It is not completely clear to me, but I believe it’s out of NIH,” he said.
Mullin noted that he found it odd that Bright, who claimed to be a leading medical expert and played a major role in the early response to the COVID-19 pandemic, could not even effectively manage his own health under the circumstances.
“I get it—people handle pressure quite different,” he said. “But as the director of BARDA, I feel like you’re in quite a stressful position when you’re trying to manage, um—a pandemic?”
To top it off, even though Bright claimed to be facing unprecedented stress from his job “loss,” he seemed perfectly fine with introducing the added pressure of public congressional testimony and a high-profile political attack on the White House into his routine.
“You can’t manage your own hypertension when it comes because you got removed from the office,” Mullin observed, “but yet, you can still receive pay from NIH—but you can’t show up for work, and then all of a sudden you can prepare for this, but you can’t do that. I just have a hard time understanding it.”
Mullin seemed to suggest that the same character issues which led to Bright’s performance-related job removal and his decision to step forward as a partisan “whistleblower” might also have informed his recent bout of hypochondria.
“I know you’re a bright individual and very smart,” he said, “but you are an employee of the federal government, and I just want to make sure you’re not doing something to deceive the American people.”