Trump to replace Health Inspector General who criticized coronavirus response

Coronavirus

President Donald Trump listens during a meeting about the coronavirus with Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, not pictured, in the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, April 29, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(CBS News) — President Trump announced his intent to nominate a new inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), weeks after acting inspector general Christi Grimm released a report detailing shortages of testing and personal protective equipment (PPE) in hospitals responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We will continue to serve the American people by ensuring that their health and welfare are protected. Our agency began preparing to assist a new Inspector General appointee over a year ago, when the previous presidentially-appointed and senate-confirmed Inspector General first announced his intention to retire from government service. We will continue to work conscientiously to support a smooth leadership transition,” said Tesia Williams, spokesperson for the office of the inspector general for HHS.

Mr. Trump criticized Grimm in early April, calling the findings in her report “wrong.”

“Did I hear the word inspector general? Really?” Mr. Trump said during a White House briefing, demanding that the reporter who asked the question give him the name of the inspector general who wrote the report. “Where did he come from, the inspector general? What’s his name? No, what’s his name? What’s his name?”

He also criticized Grimm and her report on Twitter, writing: “Why didn’t the I.G., who spent 8 years with the Obama Administration (Did she Report on the failed H1N1 Swine Flu debacle where 17,000 people died?), want to talk to the Admirals, Generals, V.P. & others in charge, before doing her report.”

Grimm is a career investigator who has served both Republican and Democratic presidents.

Mr. Trump has expressed frustrations with inspectors general, who are appointed across the government to ferret out waste, fraud and abuse within agencies. In April, he fired the intelligence community inspector general.

First published on May 2, 2020 / 4:47 PM

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