Donald Trump fumed over a 60 Minutes segment in which Norah O’Donnell interviewed coronavirus whistleblower Rick Bright, with the president going so far as to suggest that ViacomCBS chairwoman Shari Redstone “knows how to make things right.”
Bright, former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, filed a whistleblower complaint last month, contending that he was ousted for refusing to promote the drug hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment. He also claims that leaders at the Department of Health and Human Services ignored his warnings about the coronavirus and the need to prepare for the pandemic.
Trump wrote in a series of three tweets, “@60Minutes & third place anchor, @NorahODonnell, are doing everything in their power to demean our Country, much to the benefit of the Radical Left Democrats. Tonight they put on yet another Fake ‘Whistleblower’, a disgruntled employee who supports Dems, fabricates stories,
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He added “….spews lies. @60Minutes report was incorrect, which they couldn’t care less about. Fake News! I don’t know this guy, never met him, but don’t like what I see. How can a creep like this show up to work tomorrow & report to @SecAzar , his boss, after trashing him on T.V.?….
He went on, “This whole Whistleblower racket needs to be looked at very closely, it is causing great injustice & harm. I hope you are listening @SenSusanCollins I also hope that Shari Redstone will take a look at her poorly performing gang. She knows how to make things right!”
Bright, who had been focused on vaccine development, filed a whistleblower complaint after his ouster, in which he was transferred to a different position at the National Institutes of Health. He testified before a House subcommittee this week, at which time Trump also referred to him as a disgruntled employee.
On 60 Minutes, Bright told O’Donnell, “I am not disgruntled. 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 frustrating– strated at our inability to be heard as scientists. Those things frustrate me.”
CBS Evening News continues to rank in third place since O’Donnell became anchor in July, but 60 Minutes was in the top 20 in the recently completed season, with an average of 10.44 million viewers. The show also announced that it would continue original episodes for another month, extending its season amid the continued coronavirus crisis.
Redstone did meet with Trump last fall, but a company spokesperson denied reports that a potential news channel was among the topics discussed.
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