Donald Trump has lashed out at a government inspector-general for a report showing “severe” shortages of hospital supplies.
The president also attacked several journalists who asked him about the report during a press conference today.
“Did I hear the word ‘inspector general’? What’s his name? Could politics be entered into that?” Mr Trump asked.
Mr Trump dismissed the report after finding out Ms Grimm had also served in the department while Barack Obama was president.
“They did serve in the previous admin — you mean the Obama administration?” he asked a reporter.
“Thank you for telling me that … there’s a typical fake news deal.”
Ms Grimm started working in the Health Department in 1999, when Bill Clinton was president.
She was appointed to her current position four months ago.
Mr Trump took aim at reporter Jon Karl for asking him about the report.
“You’re a third-rate reporter. What you just said is a disgrace,” he said.
“You will never make it.”
Mr Karl is the chief White House correspondent for the US network ABC, and has won an Emmy and the Walter Cronkite Award.
He also rebuked Fox News reporter Kristen Fisher for asking about a lag in coronavirus tests.
“We’re the federal government, we are not supposed to be standing on street doing corners testing,” he said.
“You should say, ‘congratulations, great job’ instead of being so horrid in the way you ask a question.”
He also asked a reporter from a Hong Kong newspaper if she “worked for China”.
Yesterday he berated an Associated Press journalist for asking “wise-guy questions”.
The scathing report found that a shortage of coronavirus tests and long delays in results were at the root of hospitals being put under extraordinary pressure.
“Hospitals reported that they were unable to keep up with COVID-19 testing demands because they lacked complete kits and/or the individual components and supplies needed to complete tests,” the report read.
“Additionally, hospitals reported frequently waiting seven days or longer for test results. When patient stays were extended while awaiting test results, this strained bed availability, personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies, and staffing.”
Widespread shortages of PPE put staff and patients at risk, the report stated.
There were also sharp increases in prices for PPE from some vendors.
“One administrator noted that masks that originally cost 50 cents now cost $6 apiece,” the report stated.
“Other hospitals reported concerns about vendors buying up supplies and selling them to the hospital at a higher cost.”
On Friday night, Mr Trump sacked the government’s chief Inspector General, stating that he could not trust him.
Michael Atkinson handled a whistleblower complaint from the White House that ultimately led to Mr Trump being impeached by the House of Representatives.
Announcing Mr Atkinson’s sacking in a letter to Congress, Mr Trump said it was “vital” that he has confidence in the people serving as inspectors general.
Inspectors general serve as ombudsmen and auditors of US government behaviour, and are charged with finding incompetence and corruption.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, one of Mr Trump’s most scathing critics, did not mince words.
“President Trump fires people for telling the truth.”
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