Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

'Normal' is killing us.

Donald Trump is out of the White House. COVID-19 is fading, at least in wealthier nations. The world, they say, is returning to “normal.” That’s the narrative that the corporate media is selling. But there’s a problem: “normal” is destroying our planet, threatening our democracies, concentrating massive wealth in a tiny elite, and leaving billions of people without access to life-saving vaccines amid a deadly pandemic. Here at Common Dreams, we refuse to accept any of this as “normal.” Common Dreams just launched our Mid-Year Campaign to make sure we have the funding we need to keep the progressive, independent journalism of Common Dreams alive. Whatever you can afford—no amount is too large or too small—please donate today to support our nonprofit, people-powered journalism and help us meet our goal.

Please select a donation method:

Members of National Nurses United, the largest nurses union in the United States, protest in front of the White House April 21, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Members of National Nurses United, the largest nurses union in the United States, protest in front of the White House April 21, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

White House to Oust DHHS Inspector General Whose Report Drew Trump Fury

"Don't let anyone tell you that the Trump administration is wholly incompetent. They are really good at undermining independent oversight and democratic norms."

President Donald Trump's attacks on oversight continued late Friday as he announced his intention to replace the official serving as the Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General.

According to the White House announcement, Trump wants to have Jason Weida, who's currently serving as Assistant U.S. Attorney in Boston, take on the role currently filled by acting HHS Inspector General Christi A. Grimm. Her office's report (pdf) last month—which reflected hundreds of hospitals' reports of "widespread shortages" of personal protective equipment and "severe shortages of testing supplies" contributing to difficulties in responding to the coronavirus pandemic—left Trump fuming.

"Once again the President retaliates against an acting Inspector General whose reports he doesn't like," Donald K. Sherman, deputy director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), wrote Saturday on Twitter.

"Don't let anyone tell you that the Trump administration is wholly incompetent," Sherman added. "They are REALLY good at undermining independent oversight and democratic norms. Perhaps the best ever. Especially during The #CoronavirusPandemic." 

As the New York Times reported Friday,

The nomination was the latest effort by Mr. Trump against watchdog offices around his administration that have defied him. In recent weeks, he fired an inspector general involved in the inquiry that led to the president's impeachment, nominated a White House aide to another key inspector general post overseeing virus relief spending and moved to block still another inspector general from taking over as chairman of a pandemic spending oversight panel.

The DHHS inspector general's office released a report on April 6, which, as Politico reported, "casts a different light on conditions Trump administration officials have portrayed as improving thanks to their response to the pandemic." The document reflects the results of a March 23–27 survey from 323 U.S. hospitals.

The key takeaway, according to the report:

Hospitals reported that their most significant challenges centered on testing and caring for patients with known or suspected COVID-19 and keeping staff safe. Hospitals also reported substantial challenges maintaining or expanding their facilities' capacity to treat patients with COVID-19.  Hospitals described specific challenges, mitigation strategies, and needs for assistance related to personal protective equipment (PPE), testing, staffing, supplies, and durable equipment; maintaining or expanding facility capacity; and financial concerns. 

Trump lashed out at press when asked about the report. He described the report as "just wrong," said the survey results "could be [Grimm's] opinion," and suggested the findings reflected poorly on the administration because she was Obama appointee. Grimm has been the acting inspector general since January 2020 and began work at Office of Inspector General in 1999, according to her government bio.

Daniel Levinson, who resigned last year from his 15-year role as the inspector general of DHHS, later praised Grimm for having "a sterling reputation, earned over many years, for sound independent judgment."

Esquire's Charles Pierce last month suggested Grimm's firing was likely imminent after her report "pretty much lit the federal response to the pandemic on fire."

"The easiest way to get fired at Camp Runamuck is to do your job the way it's supposed to be done," he wrote, "regardless of how vividly it illustrates the clown college that is this administration*."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Support progressive journalism.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

NY Court Suspends Rudy Giuliani From Practicing Law Over Trump Lies

The court pointed to "demonstrably false and misleading" claims of voter fraud made by former President Donald Trump's lawyer.

Andrea Germanos, staff writer ·


State Court Ruling Called 'Big Step' Toward Holding ExxonMobil Accountable

"By clearing this hurdle, the people of Massachusetts are now one step closer to finally having their rightful day in court, where Exxon will have to answer for its campaign of deception."

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·


Progressives Say 30-Day Eviction Moratorium Extension 'Not Enough'

"This only puts more pressure on our country to find a permanent solution to the housing crisis," said Rep. Ro Khanna. "We can't keep kicking the can down the road."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


'Sounds Like Fascism': DeSantis Signs Law to Collect Political Views of Professors

The law bars universities from "shielding" students from "offensive" views, raising questions about retaliation for professors who enforce respectful classroom conduct.

Julia Conley, staff writer ·


EPA Inaction Blamed as US Bees Suffer Second Highest Colony Losses on Record

Beekeepers lost nearly half of their colonies between April 2020 and April 2021, according to the Bee Informed Partnership survey.

Andrea Germanos, staff writer ·