Faced with weeks of bungling the growing coronavirus pandemic, Donald Trump's White House has brought in what is being called the "A-team" to coordinate efforts to stem the growing health crisis that has almost brought the country to a standstill.
According to a report at Politico, the White House task force -- which has been embroiled in internal fights over how to respond to the crisis -- recently brought on board Brett Giroir, an HHS official to be the testing coordinator and Adam Boehler, another former HHS official, along with others who are now working overtime to get the government up to speed after dithering for almost two months.
Describing the newcomers, one anonymous official admitted, "This is the A-team of people who get shit done. We’ve got to show the American people that we can deliver on the testing promises” referring to Donald Trump's off-hand comments that anyone can get tested.
One of the reasons for the changes, Politico reports, is political infighting by Trump administration officials who are blaming each other for the failures to make any progress so far.
"HHS Secretary Alex Azar, who led the initial response, is frustrated with [CDC Director Robert] Redfield, said two people familiar with the situation, and dispatched Giroir earlier this month to the CDC to quietly investigate the problems within the agency, said three individuals briefed on the effort," the report states.
Azar is also on the receiving end of internal criticism with Politico's Dan Diamond reports, writing, "... two officials blamed Azar himself for not doing more to coordinate the overall response across January and February, leaving the administration well short on the number of necessary tests. Some of the strategies taken in recent days, like working with private labs to ramp up tests, could have been pursued nearly two months ago under Azar’s leadership, the officials said."
Add to that, Azar has been missing-in-action during many press briefings because Vice President Mike Pence -- who is heading up the task force -- has grown unhappy with him "... amid frustrations about the state of the effort and whether Azar's public health deputies had been too alarmist in their messages."
Diamond went on to note that so far, "The nation’s inadequate coronavirus testing has meant that the true scope of the problem is unknown."
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