If you consume what the mainstream media dishes out, then you are probably aware of claims by many of its outlets that the Trump administration tapped “a dog breeder,” Brian Harrison, to run its response to the Wuhan coronavirus. “Special Report: Former Labradoodle breeder was tapped to lead U.S. pandemic task force,” Reuters blared. “Not a Joke: The Trump Admin Hired a Dog Breeder to Run Its Coronavirus Task Force,” claimed Vanity Fair.
The Daily Beast chimed in with a report that “Azar Tapped Ex-Dog Breeder to Lead Early Federal Coronavirus Task Force.” MSNBC demanded to know “Why would a former dog breeder help oversee a pandemic?”
These claims are grossly misleading. Harrison briefly owned a family business raising Labradoodles. However, he has served in important posts at HHS, the White House, and the Pentagon. In addition, his private sector experience includes work as a director at an independent public affairs firm, where he helped oversee its healthcare portfolio
Moreover, Harrison never “ran” the Trump administration’s pandemic task force. Rather, he was assigned a typical role for a cabinet secretary’s chief of staff, serving as aide de camp on a task force run by HHS Secretary Azar, until Trump replaced Azar with Vice President Pence.
Harrison’s predecessor as Azar’s chief-of-staff explained Harrison’s role as follows:
Your job is to keep the trains moving. It’s not being the guy who comes up with the idea about what HHS does about testing. People have this idea that it’s some kind of czar job. You’re staff.
Harrison’s background in government, as set forth by the Dallas Morning News, is precisely that of a typical high level government staffer. During the Bush 43 administration, when Azar was Deputy Secretary of HHS, Harrison served on Azar’s staff. Vice President Cheney’s team noticed Harrison and snatched him up to serve on the VP’s staff at the White House. After that, Harrison moved on to the Pentagon, where he remained for the first two years of the Obama administration.
None of this experience would qualify Harrison to formulate the administration’s response to the coronavirus. But this was never Harrison’s role. For better or for worse, the likes of Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx, and Dr. Redfield, along with Azar and then Pence, did the formulating, subject to sign off by President Trump.
The mainstream media can’t attack the paper credentials of the medical professionals who advised the administration. Thus, its organs go after the top staff guy. And to make this work, they must distort its portrait of him.
Sickening, but par for the course.