With over 80 thousand Americans dead due to the virus that's upended daily life in the United States, one of the biggest obstacles to slowing the fatality rate is the shortage of personal protective equipment such as N95 masks to protect healthcare workers from contracting the virus.
This shortage is considered to have been largely avoidable, but the unwillingness of President Donald Trump's administration to oversee the distribution of PPE to each state, and its shipment of millions of masks overseas during the early stages of the global outbreak.
Dr. Rick Bright, an ousted leader of the biodefense agency of the National Institute of Health, testified before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Bright blew the whistle on the Trump administration's failure to adequately plan for the research and distribution of a vaccine for the virus, prioritizing irresponsible studies that were politically beneficial for the President, rather than based on science.
Because of his dissent against the President and reliance on science, Dr. Bright faced hours of criticism and indignation from congressional Republicans until his panel ended.
Following the panel, Executive Vice President of Prestige Ameritech—Mike Bowen—took the stand. Bowen's company is a maker of N95 masks and other medical equipment.
Early in his testimony, Bowen defended Dr. Bright against Republican attacks, while also stressing that he himself was a Republican who voted for Donald Trump.
"I watched all of this a little while ago...it seemed like everyone who was beating up on Dr. Bright was a Republican and everybody who was defending him was a Democrat. I'm a Republican. I voted for President Trump. I admire Dr. Bright. I don't know what he did in all his other activities, but I think everything I've heard and every time I talked to him and everything he said here made a lot of sense, and I believe him"
He later reiterated his defense of Dr. Bright and criticized the Trump administration for firing him.
Bowen said of Trump's insistence that the virus would disappear and of the administration's firing of Dr. Bright:
"Again, I'm a Republican. Been a lifelong Republican, and I'm embarrassed by how that's been handled. Like Rick Bright said, it's the scientists we need to be listening to and we're not. That has got to change, or more lives are gonna be lost."
People appreciated Bowen's honesty and his willingness to break with his party for the greater good.
He wasn't the only one to speak out against the Republican vilification of Dr. Bright.
Can we start listening to experts now?