For his "Reality Check" segment on CNN's "New Day," John Avlon took a hard look at Donald Trump's administration that rewards loyalists and dumps those who displease the president and explained how it has exacerbated the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed over 75,000 American lives.
Getting right to the point after an introduction from "New Day' host Alisyn Camerota, Avlon -- reporting from home -- began, "The American people are getting a crash course in why competent government matters. this is not a drill. this is a global pandemic, with more than 75,000 Americans dead and more than 30 million unemployed."
"It's a time where we see why non-partisan experts matter," he continued. "But instead we see CDC [Centers for Disease Control] plans developed by scientists being shoved by politicos and even amid the pandemic President Trump is purging professionals; stocking the government with hyperpartisans whose primary qualification seems to be unquestioning loyalty."
"Now the latest purge claimed the lead vaccine director, Dr. Rick Bright, who claims early warnings about COVID-19 were ignored," he explained, before quoting Bright writing, "I was pressured to let politics and cronyism drive decisions over the opinions of the best scientists we have in government "
"In recent months we've seen Trump target the intelligence community, firing the inspector general which followed the dismissal of acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, and the resignation of top deputies," he continued before noting that the president's most recent appointment to head the DNI, Rep John Ratcliffe (R-TX) was previously proposed but withdrew after it was revealed he'd embellished his law enforcement record.
"Now he's back promising senators he would be apolitical and tell the unvarnished truth," Avlon explained. "Here's the thing about Senate confirmations: you don't just believe what the nominee says, you look at what they've done. Once confirmed, the only person who can remove him is the president, and Trump looks for loyalty, not independence or expertise."
"The latest example of that is Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner's attempts to use volunteer loyalists to procure PPEs," he continued. "None of the team members had significant experience in health care, procurement or supply chain operations, according to a whistleblower complaint. They prioritized requests from Fox News personalities and passed on a tip to New York state which led to a $69 million contract for ventilators, none of which arrived."
"Taxpayers have a right to expect competence in a government," he stated as he wrapped up. "Rewarding sycophants and punishing expertise can lead to absurd excesses like the recent string of hiring college seniors, yes you heard that right, for senior White House positions. This kind of amateur hour, four years into an administration, would almost be funny if we didn't live in such serious times. With so many Americans out of work, so many dying. and that's your reality check."