While on the 2016 presidential campaign trail, Donald Trump claimed he did not need to know anything about the job of President because he would have only the best people on his team.
But after winning the electoral vote—and losing the popular vote—Trump's staffing choices failed to live up to his campaign promise.
A number of cabinet members resigned after scandals or were forced out when Trump claimed they were incompetent. White House and Trump campaign staff also suffered the same issues as well as indictments and convictions for various crimes.
Now with a viral pathogen that is highly contagious with a high death rate—a combination not seen since the 1918 influenza outbreak that infected 500 million and claimed at least 50 million lives—sweeping across the globe, getting those best people on the Trump administration's pandemic task force is critical.
While Dr. Anthony Fauci—of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases—earns high praise, not every task force member is so regarded. The resume and reputation of Trump's hand picked lead for testing, Brett Giroir, doesn't stand up to the same scrutiny Dr. Fauci's does.
Giroir is tasked with getting the inadequate testing deployment and processing on track. His eight years in vaccine development projects at Texas A&M University would seem to make him a good fit.
However in 2015, Giroir was abruptly removed from the project—given just 30 minutes to pack and get out or be fired.
According to records regarding his removal, Giroir was cited for being a poor team member. A specific criticism concerned Giroir's focus, saying he was "more interested in promoting [him]self" than the work being done.
Giroir blamed his forced resignation on academic politics and not his own failings in an interview with The Washington Post.
"If you're not familiar with academic politics, it makes politics in Washington look like a minor league scrimmage."
"I'm a team player. But not to people who act inappropriately, who are misogynistic and who are abusive to other people. I don't have a loyalty to that. I have a loyalty to my faculty and my students. And that's what I care about. . . . It's better to be independent and stand your ethical ground."
Giroir declined to offer to elaborate or corroborate his claims, saying:
"I'll just leave it at that."
However those who worked with him said he routinely "over-promised and under-delivered."
Giroir works under Health and Human Service (DHHS) head Alex Azar whose own qualifications have been challenged often. He serves as the assistant secretary for health in DHHS and head of the U.S. Public Health Service Commisioned Corps which is why he wears a uniform and uses the title admiral.
People have been unimpressed with Giroir's work since being named Trump's testing czar.
They're unsurprised by the revelations from Giroir's work past or why someone who was more interested in self promotion than results would appeal to the President.
And several cited cases of over promising and under delivering by Giroir.
As of Monday, April 20, 789,439 people in the United States were confirmed to have the virus. The death toll has reached 42,186.
By the end of the week, infected is expected to reach over one million and deaths over 50,000.
The book The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History is available here.