Rep. Sarbanes says Bright testimony ‘adds up to one inescapable conclusion: It didn’t have to be this way.’
John Wagner, Felicia Sonmez, Kim Bellware, Mark Berman, Adam Taylor, Steven Goff, Kareem Copeland, Michael Brice-Saddler, Teo Armus and Antonia Noori Farzan, The Washington Post
Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) asked Richard Bright when he knew with certainly there was a problem with the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic:
“Tell me about just one specific moment when you had that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach because you were not seeing the response you knew needed to happen,” Sarbanes asked at Thursday’s House subcommittee hearing.
“Congressman, I’ll never forget the emails I received” from Mike Bowen, a manufacturer of surgical masks, “indicating that … our mask supply, our N95 mask supply, was completely decimated, and he said, ‘We’re in deep s---. The world is, and we need to act,’” Bright said.
“I pushed that forward to the highest levels I could in HHS and got no response,” he said. “From that moment, I knew that we were going to have a crisis for our health-care workers because we were not taking action. We were already behind the ball. That was the last window of opportunity to turn on that production, to save the lives of those health-care workers, and we didn’t act.”
“Listening to your testimony gives me chills,” Sarbanes responded, “because it adds up to one inescapable conclusion: It didn’t have to be this way. There was another path; things could have gone differently. The federal response to the pandemic could have been much more effective.”