The day the first U.S. case of coronavirus was reported, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services …assured Americans the U.S. government was prepared.
…..[Sec] Azar is a Republican lawyer who once clerked for the late conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and counts current Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh as a friend. Under George W. Bush, Azar worked for HHS as general counsel and deputy secretary. During the Obama years, he cycled through the private sector as a pharmaceutical company lobbyist and executive for Eli Lilly. After Trump’s first HHS secretary was forced out in a travel corruption scandal, Azar stepped in, in January 2018.
…[Although COVID-19 was] “potentially serious,” Azar assured viewers in America, it “was one for which we have a playbook.”
…He [understated] the pandemic’s severity. He also [overstated] his agency’s preparedness.
…“We developed a diagnostic test at the CDC, so we can confirm if somebody has this,” Azar said. “We will be spreading that diagnostic around the country so that we are able to do rapid testing on site.”
…[The Trump administration] wouldn’t come up with viable tests for [another] five and half weeks.
…The first test created by the CDC, meant to be used by other labs, was plagued by a glitch that rendered it useless.
…Azar tapped a trusted aide with minimal public health experience to lead the agency’s day-to-day response to COVID-19: Brian Harrison.
…Harrison’s official HHS biography says, he “ran a small business in Texas.” The biography does not disclose the name or nature of that business, but his personal financial disclosure forms show that from 2012 until 2018 he ran a company called Dallas Labradoodles.
The company sells Australian Labradoodles, a breed that is a cross between a Labrador Retriever and a Poodle. He sold it in April 2018, his financial disclosure form said. HHS emailed Reuters that the sales price was $225,000.
Labradoodles. What a creative way to launder money.