President Donald Trump on Monday claimed that an inspector general report finding “severe” shortages of supplies at hospitals to fight the novel coronavirus is “just wrong.”
Trump did not provide evidence for why the conclusions of the 34-page report are wrong.
He implied that he is mistrustful of inspectors general more broadly. He recently fired the inspector general of the intelligence community, which has drawn outrage from Democrats.
“Did I hear the word inspector general?” Trump said in response to the reporter’s question about the findings.
“It’s just wrong,” Trump said of the report.
The inspector general report, released earlier Monday, was based on a survey of 323 randomly selected hospitals across the country.
It found “severe” shortages of tests and wait times as long as seven days for hospitals. It also found “widespread” shortfalls of protective equipment such as masks for health workers, something that doctors and nurses have also noted for weeks.
“The level of anxiety among staff is like nothing I’ve ever seen,” one hospital administrator said in the report.
Trump asked who the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services is.
“Where did he come from, the inspector general?” Trump said, adding, “What’s his name?”
The office is currently led by Christi Grimm, the principal deputy inspector general.
According to her online biography, Grimm joined the inspector general’s office in 1999.
Trump said the U.S. has now done more testing than any other country. “We are doing an incredible job on testing,” he said.
Trump dismisses HHS IG report critical of federal coronavirus response: "It's just wrong. Did I hear the word 'inspector general'? Really … what's his name? … could politics be entered into that?" pic.twitter.com/SMsHlgKMI4
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 6, 2020
He also berated the reporter asking the question, saying testing has been a success.
“You should say, ‘Congratulations. Great job’ instead of being so horrid,” Trump said.