Heckuva job, Brian-ie.
Not many know Brian Harrison. At 37, he is a might callow to known by anyone, much less to be the person heading up the nation’s coronavirus response.
Surely, a person of such rank must be a certifiable genius, stable, and steeped in matters of public health.
Not exactly. Harrison’s background is in dog breeding. No joke. Insiders in the White House call him the “dog breeder.”
Labradoodles are his specialty. At least they were until he entered Alex Azar’s orbit.
Until the bell tolls as well for for Azar, he is the fifth — count ’em, five — secretary of Health and Human Services under Donald Trump. That revolving door is a mighty wind.
Azar was an assistant secretary of HHS under George W. Bush when Azar summoned Brian Harrison to forsake the good of poodle hybrids and to serve as Azar’s aide.
Harrison came with the new furniture when Azar moved up to run HHS in January. At that same time the dog breeder was assigned to keep an eye on the not-to-worry-much matter of a virus that broke out in China.
Whom else would you assign? The ottoman? You need furniture you can trust.
Since January, it’s unclear how much of a contribution Harrison has made to keeping us safe vs. how much he’s screwed up. Trump doesn’t need much help on the latter.
This episode reminds of the Bush administration’s how-to-compound-disaster response to Hurricane Katrina and W’s forever-remembered, “Brownie, you’ve done a heckuva job,” to then-FEMA director Michael Brown.
Brown’s background before ascending that role? Commissioner for the International Arabian Horse Association.
Horses, dogs, deathly disasters, it’s all the same.
Harrison, Brown, and of course our reality-show president, are the embodiment of the notion that just about anybody can do this governing stuff. Insight and experience? Pshaw.
Somebody tell us who in the Trump administration has performed up to expectations. Oh, wait. All have done that, if expectations are below sea level.
The longest-serving Cabinet members are among the biggest jokes
,: a mothballed brain surgeon in charge of public housing, the wife of a mega-donor in charge of education policy, and the wife of, ahem, Mitch McConnell doing transportation.
The other day one of those deep-state figures vulnerable for knowing what he's doing was fired for that very thing.
Dr. Rick Bright, who was heading up federal initiatives toward creating a COVID-19 vaccine, was booted from his post because he was candid about the medical quackery coming from Trump’s mouth.
Bright had expressed dubiety about Trump’s hawking anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine – for the purposes in mind, more clinically called hypedonFOXchloroquine.
Now the Trump medicine show has him floating things like ingesting disinfectant and injecting sunlight. Quite a few of us would be happy to see him try each of these remedies and see if it changes his complexion from faux mahogany to algae.
CNN’s Chris Cuomo, now able to laugh again after suffering his own battle with the virus, describes the message from this president as, “Take two shots of Windex, swallow this light bulb and call me in the morning.”
Behind this dangerous misinformation campaign are people in high government positions who don’t really buy into governing. They have literally bought government as an asset and a business opportunity.
Trump has overseen a horrendous hollowing out of the entities in place to serve us. Those remaining serve him and him alone.
In departing, Dr. Bright said it right. Health policy should be based on “science, not cronyism.”
From Katrina to COVID-19, we have seen what happens when we elevate people who believe less in government, and now less in science, than in the cronyism and back-scratching that makes the business world go round. Will we survive this cynical looting of our country?
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.