A growing number of critics are calling on the Biden administration to fire White House Covid Response Coordinator Jeff Zients.
Zients, a former private equity executive with no public health experience, raised eyebrows when he was installed by Biden.
Zients, a former Obama administration economic adviser, and his hedge fund came under fire in 2020 after The New York Times cited its companies’ surprise billing and collections policies.
In the Obama administration, “his role was essentially to be a management consultant for the executive branch: cutting costs, finding efficiencies and looking at things like a businessman,” The Revolving Door Project, a D.C. watchdog group, told the Times.
Other groups also raised concerns about his appointment.
“Democrats should overall be alarmed by any Democratic administration considering filling the White House with Wall Street insiders and corporate lobbyists,” Waleed Shahid, spokesman for Justice Democrats, told the Times.
Blamed for failures:
More than a year after taking office, Zients has been blamed for many of the administration’s Covid failures.
The Revolving Door Project last week slammed Zients for failing to invoke the Defense Production Act, which allows the administration to order private companies to produce products necessary for public safety, to ramp up production of personal protective equipment, tests, and pharmaceutical products necessary as Omicron infections surge.
Zients has also been blamed for failing to meet US pledges for vaccine doses shipped abroad.
Zients has also been accused of talking states out of imposing mask mandates.
"Zients has prioritized cooperation with corporations rather than exercising a democratic government's rights to protect the people,” wrote RDP’s Timi Iwayemi. "Globally, Zients has emphasized vaccine charity over equity, all but ensuring that there will never be enough jabs in arms worldwide to prevent ever more mutations of the fast-changing virus."
Calls for firing:
“Amid an entirely predictable viral mutation and a winter surge, Zients has failed to provide the materials necessary to improve the U.S. response, or the guidance necessary to keep the pandemic under control,” wrote RDP’s Daniel Boguslaw. “He’s proven himself not up to the task, and Biden should relieve him of his duties.”
“Jeff Zients — who has virtually no public health background but plentiful corporates ties — has led a terrible pandemic response and should be shown the door,” tweeted Harvard Prof. Adam Gaffney.