On Sunday, Donald Trump responded to the latest episode of 60 Minutes after the program featured an interview with whistleblower Rick Bright. Bright has been critical of the president’s response to the coronavirus and claimed that Trump’s administration ignored repeated warnings about the early outbreak of the virus.
Bright claims that he tried to warn Trump in January that the outbreak could become a pandemic and threaten the United States. Despite his warnings, Bright said the Trump administration did not take the information seriously. Bright went on to say that he continued to insist, in late January, that the Trump administration have plans for testing, treatment, and vaccines — warnings that he claimed continued to go unheeded.
Trump responded on Twitter to the interview, calling Bright a “disgruntled employee” and accusing him of lying.
“Tonight they put on yet another Fake ‘Whistleblower’, a disgruntled employee who supports Dems, fabricates stories & spews lies. @60Minutes report was incorrect, which they couldn’t care less about. Fake News!”
In a later tweet, Trump said that the “whistleblower racket” needed to be investigated, calling on Maine Sen. Susan Collins to pay attention to the claim.
This is not the first time that the president has had issues with 60 Minutes. Last week, he also took to Twitter to claim that both the show and CBS News were using their media platform to defend China and shield the country from criticism over its coronavirus response.
“.@CBS and their show, @60Minutes, are doing everything within their power, which is far less today than it was in the past, to defend China and the horrible Virus pandemic that was inflicted on the USA and the rest of the World. I guess they want to do business in China!”
Like Sunday’s tweet, this came within minutes of the news program airing a segment about a virologist who said his funding at the National Institutes of Health was cut close to two weeks ago. The researcher, Peter Daszak, said that he had been warning for close to two decades that a virus-borne pandemic could be a major problem for the United States.
The report said that the funding cut was the result of a “political disinformation campaign” claiming that a lab in Wuhan, China, was responsible for the virus outbreak. The report also noted that Trump incorrectly suggested that a $3.7 million grant for Daszak’s research went to the Wuhan lab, when the amount was closer to $100,000.