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Biden nominates health official who was targeted by Trump for revealing Covid supply shortages

·2-min read
President Joe Biden speaks about the nation’s Covid-19 response and the vaccination program in the State Dining Room of the White House on 18 June, 2021 in Washington, DC. Mr Biden has named Christi Grimm as his pick to be permanent inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services. (Getty Images)
President Joe Biden speaks about the nation’s Covid-19 response and the vaccination program in the State Dining Room of the White House on 18 June, 2021 in Washington, DC. Mr Biden has named Christi Grimm as his pick to be permanent inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services. (Getty Images)

President Joe Biden has nominated Health and Human Services (HHS) official Christi Grimm to become the department’s permanent inspector general.

The official, who has already been serving as acting HHS inspector general since early 2020, received the nomination on Friday.

Ms Grimm remained in her role after being the target of former President Donald Trump’s ire after a report in April 2020 that raised concerns over supply shortages in hospitals at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The report had warned of “severe” shortages of coronavirus tests, as well as shortages in personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline workers.

At the time, Mr Trump dismissed the report, calling it “wrong” and branding it “another Fake Dossier” in a tweet.

Then, around a month later, then-assistant US attorney Jason Weida was named by the White House as Mr Trump’s pick for permanent inspector general in an apparent bid to see Ms Grimm removed from the role.

Mr Weida was never confirmed to the role by the Senate, however, and Ms Grimm continued to perform the duties of the inspector general.

According to the White House, Ms Grimm has more than 20 years of experience “leading organizations, individuals, and teams to deploy creative solutions, overcome challenges, and achieve positive outcomes”.

She began her career with the HHS at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services before joining the HHS-OIG in 1999.

During that time, she has held a number of leadership roles, including senior policy adviser to the principal deputy and inspector general and chief of staff.

In her present role, which she has served in since January 2020, the White House said Ms Grimm has led her office “through great challenges, while sustaining the agency’s mission and impact”.

“She has been a crucial voice in guiding and informing key stakeholders, including those in the Executive and Legislative Branches, on important topics such as oversight of the Unaccompanied Children Program, federal health and human services’ response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and the intersection of healthcare and technology,” the White House said.

“Further, she is a leading expert in HHS program integrity issues and has authored more than a dozen articles and delivered multiple speeches that have established her at the forefront of developments in the healthcare arena,” it said.

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